Faculty Articles

Title

Assessment of Stress and Resiliency in Emergency Dispatchers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2018

Keywords

dispatchers, law enforcement, posttraumatic stress disorder, occupational stress

Publication Title

Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

ISSN

1936-6469

Abstract

Although they are technically the first responders on most critical incidents, emergency dispatchers have received a modicum of attention from researchers and clinicians. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate job-related stress, psychological distress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress resiliency, and posttraumatic growth in this high-risk group. These areas were evaluated via an assessment battery administered to 90 emergency dispatchers working in a law enforcement agency. Results showed that dispatchers experienced an average amount of occupational stress, with 24% of the current sample reporting significant job stress. Between 13.34 and 15.56% reported symptoms consistent with a PTSD diagnosis, and 16.67% indicated sub-threshold PTSD symptomatology. The findings revealed that, overall, dispatchers experience occupational stress, psychological distress, and sub-threshold PTSD at similar or higher rates compared to police officers. Further, dispatchers reported posttraumatic growth at an average rate, also similar to that reported by police officers. Clinical implications of the results are discussed. Suggestions for directions that future research might take are offered.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-018-9255-3

Peer Reviewed

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