Online from: 1992
Subject Area: Environmental Management/Environment
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|Title:||Mental health implications of volunteer fire service membership|
|Author(s):||Shannon L. Wagner, (School of Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, Canada), Melanie O’Neill, (Psychology Department, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, Canada)|
|Citation:||Shannon L. Wagner, Melanie O’Neill, (2012) "Mental health implications of volunteer fire service membership", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 21 Iss: 3, pp.310 - 319|
|Keywords:||Canada, Fire services, Impact of Events Scale, Mental health, Post-traumatic stress disorders, Voluntary organizations, Volunteer fire fighters|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09653561211234499 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||Special thanks are extended to all of the fire-fighters and community members who agreed to participate in this study, as well as to Melanie Perrin and the fire chiefs who provided on-going support to the research program.|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to add to the overall body of literature regarding mental health implications related to fire service membership; in particular, to look specifically at the implications of volunteer membership and to compare results with previous research looking at paid-professional members.
Design/methodology/approach – Responses to the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), the Neuroticism-Extroversion-Openness Personality Inventory (NEO-PI) and the Symptom checklist (SCL)-90R were collected from a sample of volunteer firefighters (
Findings – Volunteer fire service members reported significantly higher rates of posttraumatic stress symptomatology when compared to a similar group of comparison participants. In contrast, no differences were found in other types of mental health symptomatology between the volunteer fire fighters and comparison group. Additionally, there appeared to be few differences in the patterns regarding prediction of mental health symptomatology from individual personality characteristics for the two groups. Generally, the authors’ results suggested that, regardless of group, neuroticism was a predictor of mental health symptomatology in many domains.
Originality/value – To the authors’ knowledge, this is the only available study to have as its primary intent to describe the mental health implications of volunteer fire service membership, as opposed to a similar comparison sample. In addition, the authors’ data provide some meaningful comparison with previously published results found in a paid-professional sample; such comparison, to this point, has been unavailable.
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