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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2018 Jan;91(1):117-123. doi: 10.1007/s00420-017-1263-6. Epub 2017 Oct 3.

Relationship between burnout and PTSD symptoms in firefighters: the moderating effects of a sense of calling to firefighting.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, 59 Yatap-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, 463-712, Republic of Korea.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Gyeonggi Provincial Medical Center, Uijeongbu Hospital, Uijeongbu, Republic of Korea.
3
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, 59 Yatap-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, 463-712, Republic of Korea. sunggh82@chamc.co.kr.
4
Department of Psychology, Korea University, Seongbuk, Seoul, Republic of Korea. sunggh82@chamc.co.kr.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Keyo Hospital, Keyo Medical Foundation, Uiwang, Republic of Korea.
6
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, 59 Yatap-ro, Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, 463-712, Republic of Korea. kpsimon@hanmail.net.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Firefighting has been reported to lead to burnout and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, burnout and PTSD symptoms may vary depending on personal characteristics, such as having a sense of calling. This study examined the role of calling in the association between burnout and PTSD symptoms. We hypothesized that burnout would be associated with more severe PTSD symptoms and calling would buffer the relationship between burnout and PTSD symptoms.

METHODS:

The Korean version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey, Sense of Calling Subscale of the Professionalism Scale, and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised-Korean version were used to measure burnout, calling, and PTSD symptoms. Data from 109 of 127 firefighters from Gyeonggi-do, South Korea were analyzed using hierarchical linear regression.

RESULTS:

Burnout was a significant predictor of PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, the interaction term between burnout and calling accounted for a significant variance in PTSD symptoms. Higher burnout was associated with severe PTSD symptoms, but this relationship differed by the level of calling. The increase in PTSD symptoms due to increased burnout in the high calling group was relatively higher than in the low and average calling groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Calling, though perceived as a positive variable, can be hazardous to exhausted people. A sense of calling as part of one's job identity should not be encouraged until personal circumstances and characteristics, such burnout symptoms, are evaluated. Identifying context and variables associated with PTSD for interventions with firefighters and persons in other dangerous occupations should aid in their recovery from trauma exposure.

KEYWORDS:

Burnout; Calling; Firefighters; Posttraumatic symptoms

PMID:
28975412
DOI:
10.1007/s00420-017-1263-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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