Ambulance workplace stressors: The health impacts on our ambulance personnel

Author Identifier

Lee Waller

Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Medical and Health Sciences

First Supervisor

Natalie Ciccone

Second Supervisor

Lisa Holmes

Third Supervisor

Richard Brightwell

Fourth Supervisor

Peter Roberts


Stress levels experienced by ambulance personnel have been reported as being high, with most of the published research depicting constant re-exposure to trauma as being the most significant stressor within this cohort. The focus of this report is posttraumatic stress disorder. This condition has been aligned with this population’s high suicide rate; it is a leading factor of numerous mental health conditions, and a causative factor for a multitude of issues ranging from fatigue and burnout to the lack of coping strategies and support networks an employee may possess.

This study investigated stresses within the ambulance profession with comparisons made to a control cohort. Validated surveys and specific questions for ambulance employees, regarding their profession, were utilised. For ambulance personnel there was a higher provisional diagnosis prevalence rate of post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder along with an increased risk of developing depression. Other stresses such as under resourcing, a lack of organisational support and a higher prevalence rate of workplace violence were also highlighted. Validated surveys were used to ascertain the required data. This multi-jurisdictional cross-sectional study aimed to establish the current acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder rates within Australasian ambulance personnel and identify specific causations. These findings may assist in improving organisational support within the ambulance industry in order to reduce mental illness across this cohort.



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