Author Identifiers

ORCID: 0000-0002-2915-3460

Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (Medical Science)

School

School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Advisor

Professor Moira Sim

Second Advisor

Dr David Coall

Third Advisor

Dr Travis Cruickshank

Fourth Advisor

Professor Russell Jones

Field of Research Code

1701, 1199

Abstract

Background

Paramedics are at higher risk of anxiety, depression, burnout, and PTSD compared to the general population. Factors that have been associated with mental disorders include occupational stress, fatigue, sleep quality, chronic pain, physical activity, perceived social support, and overall quality of life. To date only a few of these factors have been investigated simultaneously in Australian paramedics.

Aim

This study aimed to investigate occupational stress, fatigue, sleep quality, chronic pain, physical activity, perceived social support, and overall quality of life, and their associations with anxiety, depression, burnout and PTSD in Australian paramedics.

Methods

Sixty-three paramedics, working for ambulance services in Australia, participated in this cross-sectional, self-reported study. Participants completed a questionnaire booklet composed of a demographics questionnaire, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, the Maslach Burnout Inventory - Human Services Survey, The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist - Civilian Version, the Emergency Medical Services Chronic Stress Questionnaire, the Chalder Fatigue Scale, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Orebro Musculoskeletal Pain Questionnaire, the Compendium of Physical Activities, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and the Quality of Life Index.

Results

The prevalence of anxiety, depression, burnout and PTSD was higher in this study than what is reported in the general population of Australia. Moreover, the majority of these paramedics had one or more co-occurring mental disorders. Paramedics who reported higher levels of anxiety, depression and PTSD also reported increased occupational stress, greater levels of fatigue, poorer sleep quality, lower perceptions of social support, and significantly lower quality of life. Paramedics with burnout had significantly higher occupational stress and fatigue, and a lower quality of life when compared with paramedics without burnout. In addition, chronic pain was associated with increased levels of anxiety and depression.

Conclusions

Future research should be targeting interventions aimed at improving organisational and operational stress, fatigue, sleep quality, chronic pain and social support to improve anxiety, depression, burnout, and PTSD in Australian paramedics.

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