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Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Jan;178(1):76-81.

Ambulance personnel and critical incidents: impact of accident and emergency work on mental health and emotional well-being.

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Department of Mental Health, Medical School, University of Aberdeen and Centre for Trauma Research, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, UK.



The association between mental health and occupational factors among ambulance personnel has not been thoroughly investigated in the UK.


To identify the prevalence of psychopathology among ambulance personnel and its relationship to personality and exposure to critical incidents.


Data were gathered from ambulance personnel by means of an anonymous questionnaire and standardised measures.


Approximately a third of the sample reported high levels of general psychopathology, burnout and posttraumatic symptoms. Burnout was associated with less job satisfaction, longer time in service, less recovery time between incidents, and more frequent exposure to incidents. Burnout and GHQ-28 caseness were more likely in those who had experienced a particularly disturbing incident in the previous 6 months. Concerns about confidentiality and career prospects deter staff from seeking personal help.


The mental health and emotional well-being of ambulance personnel appear to be compromised by accident and emergency work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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