Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Study of Dispatchers and PTSD Part 3

Since my rewrite got long, decided to print here as two parts (which means this is actually Part 3) because of the plethora of GOOD information.  And let's face it fellow dispatchers, we are more accustomed to short reads (magazine articles) than novels (Gone with the Wind) reading attention spells.

Am going to quote different notations from the news article ( earlier discussed and the actual Brief Report published in the April 2012, 25, 211-215 Journal of Traumatic Stress published by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. My comments will be highlighted. But believe piecing together different sections will share the information, hopefully, in a cohesive and understandable manner. As the Brief Report mentions scales I have not a clue about, hopefully I can share the information with you, the reader, but more for my own edification, typing up the notes will help me understand more about PTSD as it relates to my career choice.

Now my rewrite of the article and Brief Report:: (Part 2)

Telecommunicators, however, have limited control over the event and may encounter extremely distressed callers and/or aversive details of traumatic events. Given these factors, one might expect the level of emotional distress surrounding this work to be elevated in telecommunicators compared to other professions. In fact, a dissertation about telecommunicators found that the majority of telecommunicators in the sample reported experiencing peritraumatic distress in relation to at least one call handled while on duty as a telecommunicator.

Being a 911 dispatcher is generally considered a stressful profession. However, the results from the study indicate the events typically handled by these first responders are also traumatic, and there can be adverse mental health effects. This implies a strong need to enhance prevention and intervention efforts.

As hypothesized, peritraumatic distress reported by telecommunicators was high and occurred in reaction to an average of 32% of different types of calls that may be experienced by telecommunicators. As predicted, a positive relationship (ugh, that phrase again) was found between peritraumatic distress and PTSD.

This suggests that although telecommunicators are physically distant from the traumatic scene and their personal integrity is rarely threatened, they may not be buffered from the development of PTSD symptoms. Considering the frequency of exposure to upsetting calls, however, and the heightened peritraumatic distress, as well as the rate of PTSD symptoms, future research is warranted. (!! Yes!! Take note people!!)

An interesting side note that was written by the authors:: A self-selection bias may have also skewed results. The sample could have been a particularly resilient group of telecommunicators, or telecommunicators with current PTSD symptomatology may have not self-selected for participation in the study due to the avoidance seen as part of the PTSD symptom picture. It is also possible that highly distressed telecommunicators quickly remove themselves from the occupation and are not well-represented among current telecommunicators. It is therefore possible that rates of PTSD symptoms would be even higher in a sample of telecommunicators not selected out of convenience. (You Think?? I sooo agree. And want to explore this thought further in another posting.)

The conclusion bears thinking seriously about:: PTSD symptoms that may be present in telecommunicators can impair decision-making abilities and functioning, which could pose significant risk to the general population that relies on them to quickly and effectively coordinate an emergency response. (Scary thought. Another point to further explore later.)

1 comment:

Conceita said...

Thought you might like seeing this!