Canadian Public Safety Personnel (PSP) and Occupational Stressors: How PSP Interpret Stressors on Duty

Ricciardelli, Rosemary
Czarnuch, Stephen
Carleton, R. Nicholas
Gacek, James
Shewmake, James
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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Canadian public safety personnel (e.g., correctional workers, firefighters) experience potential stressors as a function of their occupation. Occupational stressors can include organizational (e.g., job context) and operational (e.g., job content) elements. Operational stressors (e.g., exposures to potentially psychologically traumatic events) may be inevitable, but opportunities may exist to mitigate other occupational stressors for public safety personnel. Research exploring the diverse forms of stress among public safety personnel remains sparse. In our current qualitative study we provide insights into how public safety personnel interpret occupational stressors. We use a semi-grounded thematic approach to analyze what public safety personnel reported when asked to further comment on occupational stress or their work experiences in two open-ended comment fields of an online survey. We provide a more comprehensive understanding of how public safety personnel experience occupational stress and the stressors that are unique to their occupations. Beyond known operational stressors, our respondents (n = 1238; n = 828) reported substantial difficulties with organizational (interpersonal work relationship dynamics; workload distribution, resources, and administrative obligations) and operational (vigilance, work location, interacting with the public) stressors. Some operational stressors are inevitable, but other occupational stressors can be mitigated to better support our public safety personnel.

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public safety personnel, occupational stress, organizational stress, operational stress
Ricciardelli, R., Czarnuch, S., Carleton, R. N., Gacek, J., & Shewmake, J. (2020). Canadian Public Safety Personnel (PSP) and Occupational Stressors: How PSP Interpret Stressors on Duty. International Journal of Environmental Research and Health Policy, 20, 4736.