Coping strategies employed by Irish firefighters, association with stress and anxiety, and the use of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) support.

Niamh O' Rourke, John M Hyland


Emergency services personnel experience high levels of stress daily (Minnie et al., 2015). An individual’s ability to cope with stressful situations is determined by the individual’s perception of stress and coping mechanisms employed. The aim of this study was to investigate coping strategies employed by Irish firefighters and association with perceived stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, one further aim was to determine attitude towards CISM supports such as post-event Psychological Debriefing/ Defusing. A mixed method survey design (N-72) employing both CISS and DASS21 measures were completed by participants from a full time urban based station providing Emergency Medical Services, and five stations on ‘retained’ status. Participants were recruited through convenience sampling. Results suggested a moderate positive correlation between stress and avoidance and a weak positive correlation between stress and social diversion, avoidance distraction and emotion orientated coping. Respondents further indicated reliance on talking, colleague support, and recreational activity for stress management.


Critical Incident Stress Management; Coping mechanisms; Firefighter Stress; Anxiety

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