Assessing the Relative Impact of Diverse Stressors among Canadian Coast Guard and Conservation and Protection Officers
Public Safety Personnel (PSP), including members of the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Conservation and Protection (C&P) officers, are regularly exposed to potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTEs) and other occupational stressors (organizational and operational stressors). The current study quantified occupational stressors among CCG and C&P and assessed relationships with PPTEs and mental health disorders. Participants (n = 341; 58.4% male) completed an online survey assessing self-reported occupational stressors, PPTEs, and mental health disorder symptoms. CCG and C&P Officers reported significantly lower mean overall and item-level organizational and operational stress scores compared to other Canadian PSP. Mean operational stress scores were statistically significantly associated with increased odds of screening positive for all mental disorders and organizational stress scores were statistically significantly associated with increased odds of screening positive for all mental disorders except social anxiety disorder. Participants reported several item-level occupational stressors associated with screening positive for posttraumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and alcohol use disorder, even after accounting for diverse PPTE exposures. Exposure to PPTEs may be a regular part of employment for CCG and C&P PSP; however, bureaucratic red tape, staff shortages, excessive administrative duties, physical conditioning, healthy eating, and fatigue are occupational stressors that appear significantly related to mental health. Ongoing mental health efforts are needed to mitigate and manage the impact of occupational stressors among CCG and C&P.