The Huffington Post (3/30, Chan) reports, “Soldiers, police, firemen and people who’ve suffered abuse aren’t the only ones with a high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — a new study” published online March 29 in the Journal of Traumatic Stress “shows that 911 dispatchers may be at risk, too.” Investigators “from Northern Illinois University found that the 911 dispatchers still experienced the emotional distress associated with PTSD, even though they were not directly in the traumatic event.”
The Time (3/30, Sifferlin) “Healthland” blog reports that for the study, “researchers questioned 171 emergency dispatchers currently working in 24 US states. The dispatchers — predominately white women around age 38 with more than 11 years of dispatching experience — were asked about the types of calls they answer and their corresponding emotional distress.” Next, “participants…rated the types of calls that caused great distress and were asked to recall the worst call they ever received.”
“The unexpected injury or death of a child accounted for 16 percent of the calls dispatchers identified as their worst trauma,” HealthDay (3/30, Dallas). “The study authors noted that the dispatchers experienced a high level of distress following an average of 32 percent of potentially traumatic calls. In addition, 3.5 percent of the dispatchers reported symptoms severe enough to be classified as PTSD.”
— “911 Dispatchers At Risk For PTSD, Study Finds,”Amanda L. Chan, The Huffington Post, March 29, 2012.