The research will investigate the effects of work-induced stress experienced by an emergency responder, on their partners.
Researchers are looking for participants from the partners of New Zealand’s emergency services – the Police, Fire, Ambulance and NZ Military to take part in the online survey.
The study is being carried out by University of Auckland doctoral researcher, Stowe Alrutz, at the School of Population Health.
“We want to understand the impact of secondary traumatic stress on partners of emergency responders,” says Ms Alrutz. “The jobs of emergency responders involve dangerous duty and put individuals at risk of experiencing traumatic events, and sometimes of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) “
“Studies show that the partners of these emergency responders are at risk of developing secondary traumatic stress which is very similar to PTSD, except that these partners don’t experience the trauma first hand, they are exposed to it through the stories and actions of their emergency responder partners,” she says.
The anonymous online survey will ask a series of questions around how the partners of New Zealand’s emergency responders respond to work stress experienced by their emergency responder partner.
The survey asks about resilience, social support, traumatic life events, and sources of information for stress management. It also asks for opinions on a variety of other issues related to being the partner of individuals working in these military or first responder organisations.
All partners, regardless of their experience with stress, are invited to participate.
“Both PTSD and secondary traumatic stress are treatable conditions, if not preventable,” says Ms Alrutz. “Without answers to these research questions our health community lacks the information to develop a targeted plan to address the mental health needs of this under-researched group.”
Partners and spouses of Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedic or Ambulance Officers and Defence Force personnel are invited to take part in this research (as well as those who are both emergency responders and the partner of an emergency responder).
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