Date of Degree

9-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Criminal Justice

Advisor

Jon Shane

Committee Members

Louis Schlessinger

Jeff Mellow

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Keywords

Paramedic, Stress, Coping, Burnout, EMS

Abstract

The physical and psychological wellbeing of emergency medical service (EMS) providers is important for sustaining the overall model of emergency responding as well as providing consistent quality patient care. Despite the importance of the role, very little research has been undertaken for this occupational group. In particular, very little research on stress, burnout and coping have been undertaken. The failure to examine these areas fully has resulted not only in gaps in the literature but also practical failure for providers and the populations they serve. The assumption that EMS providers work under stressful circumstances which can result in burnout and which is affected by coping, necessitates research in this area. Even among the research that has been undertaken, sex differences between male and female providers in the areas of stress, burnout and coping has been neglected, despite the extensive general literature that points to sex differences in these areas and the continued male dominated environment of EMS. Using a convenience sample (n=1350) of EMS providers, this study found preliminary evidence to support sex based differences in stress and burnout for EMS providers. Although differences were found, the effects of these differences were not as great as had been expected. The resulting for coping behavior were mixed, with gender differences found for some coping behaviors (humor and substance abuse) but not for others (active coping and behavioral disengagement). The findings of this study suggest that sex is a valid basis for which to understand stress, burnout and coping in EMS providers and warrants continued exploration.

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