Assessing the Relative Impact of Diverse Stressors Among Public Safety Personnel

Carleton, R. Nicholas
Afifi, Tracie, O.
Taillieu, Tamara
Turner, Sarah
Mason, Julia, E.
Ricciardelli, Rosemary
McCreary, Donald, R.
Vaughan, Adam, D.
Anderson, Gregory, S.
McCreary, Rachel
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Public Safety Personnel (PSP; e.g., correctional workers and officers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and public safety communications officials (e.g., call center operators/dispatchers)) are regularly exposed to potentially psychologically traumatic events (PPTEs). PSP also experience other occupational stressors, including organizational (e.g., staff shortages, inconsistent leadership styles) and operational elements (e.g., shift work, public scrutiny). The current research quantified occupational stressors across PSP categories and assessed for relationships with PPTEs and mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression). The participants were 4820 PSP (31.7% women) responding to established self-report measures for PPTEs, occupational stressors, and mental disorder symptoms. PPTEs and occupational stressors were associated with mental health disorder symptoms (ps < 0.001). PSP reported substantial difficulties with occupational stressors associated with mental health disorder symptoms, even after accounting for diverse PPTE exposures. PPTEs may be inevitable for PSP and are related to mental health; however, leadership style, organizational engagement, stigma, sleep, and social environment are modifiable variables that appear significantly related to mental health.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
public safety personnel, potentially psychologically traumatic events, occupational stress, organizational stress, operational stress, mental health disorders
Carleton, R. N., Afifi, T. O., Taillieu, T., Turner, S., Mason, J. E., Ricciardelli, R., McCreary, D. R., Vaughan, A., Anderson, G. S., Krakauer, R., Donnelly, E. A., Camp, R. D. II., Groll, D., Cramm, H. A., MacPhee, R. S., & Griffiths, C. T. (2020). Assessing the Relative Impact of Diverse Stressors Among Public Safety Personnel. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, 1234.