Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder And Coping Among Career Professional Firefighters

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Rudy Nydegger
Liesl Nydegger
Frank Basile


post-traumatic stress syndrome, firefighters, PTSD coping strategies


This study explores the relationship between years of service for professional firefighters and the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Further, the study examines the specific coping mechanisms that the firefighters use to deal with the stress of their jobs.  In order to assess the presence of PTSD symptoms, the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist—Civilian Version (PCL—CV) was employed, and the Brief COPE Survey was also used to assess the different types of coping strategies that were reported by firefighters.  The subjects were 91 paid, career firefighters from two different communities in Upstate New York.  Results clearly showed that firefighters who have more years of service also demonstrated a higher frequency of symptoms suggestive of PTSD.  Further, results of the Brief COPE survey demonstrated that firefighters who have more years on the job tend to utilize more negative and inefficient coping approaches.  The implications of these results and suggestions for helping fire departments deal with these issues are discussed.


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