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PLoS One. 2018 Jan 5;13(1):e0190630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190630. eCollection 2018.

Firefighters, posttraumatic stress disorder, and barriers to treatment: Results from a nationwide total population survey.

Kim JE1,2, Dager SR3,4, Jeong HS5, Ma J1, Park S1,2, Kim J1,2, Choi Y1, Lee SL1,2, Kang I1,2, Ha E1,2, Cho HB6, Lee S1, Kim EJ7, Yoon S1,2, Lyoo IK1,2.

Author information

1
Ewha Brain Institute, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.
2
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.
3
Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.
4
Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.
5
Department of Radiology, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America.
7
Department of Psychiatry, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

Repeated exposure to traumatic experiences may put professional firefighters at increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To date, however, the rate of PTSD symptoms, unmet need for mental health treatment, and barriers to treatment have only been investigated in subsamples rather than the total population of firefighters. We conducted a nationwide, total population-based survey of all currently employed South Korean firefighters (n = 39,562). The overall response rate was 93.8% (n = 37,093), with 68.0% (n = 26,887) complete responses for all variables. The rate of current probable PTSD was estimated as 5.4%. Among those with current probable PTSD (n = 1,995), only a small proportion (9.7%) had received mental health treatment during the past month. For those who had not received treatment, perceived barriers of accessibility to treatment (29.3%) and concerns about potential stigma (33.8%) were reasons for not receiving treatment. Although those with higher PTSD symptom severity and functional impairment were more likely to seek treatment, greater symptom severity and functional impairment were most strongly associated with increased concerns about potential stigma. This nationwide study points to the need for new approaches to promote access to mental health treatment in professional firefighters.

PMID:
29304155
PMCID:
PMC5755833
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0190630
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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