Posttraumatic Stress in Volunteer Firefighters: Predictors of Distress

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Posttraumatic stress was studied in volunteer firefighters who regularly engage in threatening situations. In response to a survey of firefighters across New South Wales, Australia, 751 firefighters completed questionnaires concerning trauma experiences and posttraumatic stress levels. The presence of posttraumatic stress was best predicted by a combination of event-related and response-related aspects of the trauma. Firefighters' proximity to death, perceived severity of trauma, and fear of the traumatic event were closely associated with posttraumatic stress. In addition, the presence of stresses subsequent to the trauma, including unemployment and the loss of a loved one, was also related to posttraumatic stress. Findings are discussed in terms of etiological factors in posttraumatic stress and the need for adequate coping resources to manage the aftermath of a traumatic event.J Nerv Ment Dis 183:267-271, 1995

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