Measuring trauma symptoms in paramedicine

Elizabeth A. Whiting, Shane Costello, Brett Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background
The trauma experienced as a paramedic can have a devastating psychological impact on both professionals and students in training, and increases the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Paramedics are often placed in high-risk situations involving multiple or sustained trauma and also experience high levels of occupational stress, which can produce adverse psychological and physiological responses. Despite these risks, understanding trauma and its various manifestations in paramedicine has not been well documented.

Methods
This narrative review describes the history and changes in diagnostic criteria, and contrasts the methods of measuring PTSD symptomology with the current criteria.

Results
PTSD was first defined in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition (DSM-III) in 1980, however the diagnostic criteria and associated measurement tools failed to reflect the repeated and vicarious traumatic events experienced by paramedics.Currently, the majority of the measurement tools used to assess post-traumatic stress are still aligned with superseded diagnostic criteria and many only classify the symptoms of PTSD as present or absent with little consideration given to symptom severity. Consequently, these existing measurements of PTSD are out dated and inefficient in their ability to identify and measure PTSD using the revised criteria.

Conclusion
The development of a more specific measurement tool, which reflects the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria of trauma-related stressors within this population, will allow for a more comprehensive measurement of symptoms. Future research undertaken in this specific field will also help to inform education and training programs to assist with the negative impacts of trauma and aid in management and treatment of PTSD in paramedics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalAustralasian Journal of Paramedicine
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • allied health personnel
  • stress disorders
  • post-traumatic
  • paramedics
  • measurement

Cite this

@article{a8e79dbb65d9495b893f8210b699d06b,
title = "Measuring trauma symptoms in paramedicine",
abstract = "BackgroundThe trauma experienced as a paramedic can have a devastating psychological impact on both professionals and students in training, and increases the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Paramedics are often placed in high-risk situations involving multiple or sustained trauma and also experience high levels of occupational stress, which can produce adverse psychological and physiological responses. Despite these risks, understanding trauma and its various manifestations in paramedicine has not been well documented.MethodsThis narrative review describes the history and changes in diagnostic criteria, and contrasts the methods of measuring PTSD symptomology with the current criteria.ResultsPTSD was first defined in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition (DSM-III) in 1980, however the diagnostic criteria and associated measurement tools failed to reflect the repeated and vicarious traumatic events experienced by paramedics.Currently, the majority of the measurement tools used to assess post-traumatic stress are still aligned with superseded diagnostic criteria and many only classify the symptoms of PTSD as present or absent with little consideration given to symptom severity. Consequently, these existing measurements of PTSD are out dated and inefficient in their ability to identify and measure PTSD using the revised criteria.ConclusionThe development of a more specific measurement tool, which reflects the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria of trauma-related stressors within this population, will allow for a more comprehensive measurement of symptoms. Future research undertaken in this specific field will also help to inform education and training programs to assist with the negative impacts of trauma and aid in management and treatment of PTSD in paramedics.",
keywords = "allied health personnel, stress disorders, post-traumatic, paramedics, measurement",
author = "Whiting, {Elizabeth A.} and Shane Costello and Brett Williams",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.33151/ajp.16.681",
language = "English",
volume = "16",
journal = "Australasian Journal of Paramedicine",
issn = "2202-7270",
publisher = "Paramedics Australasia",

}

Measuring trauma symptoms in paramedicine. / Whiting, Elizabeth A.; Costello, Shane; Williams, Brett.

In: Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, Vol. 16, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Measuring trauma symptoms in paramedicine

AU - Whiting, Elizabeth A.

AU - Costello, Shane

AU - Williams, Brett

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - BackgroundThe trauma experienced as a paramedic can have a devastating psychological impact on both professionals and students in training, and increases the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Paramedics are often placed in high-risk situations involving multiple or sustained trauma and also experience high levels of occupational stress, which can produce adverse psychological and physiological responses. Despite these risks, understanding trauma and its various manifestations in paramedicine has not been well documented.MethodsThis narrative review describes the history and changes in diagnostic criteria, and contrasts the methods of measuring PTSD symptomology with the current criteria.ResultsPTSD was first defined in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition (DSM-III) in 1980, however the diagnostic criteria and associated measurement tools failed to reflect the repeated and vicarious traumatic events experienced by paramedics.Currently, the majority of the measurement tools used to assess post-traumatic stress are still aligned with superseded diagnostic criteria and many only classify the symptoms of PTSD as present or absent with little consideration given to symptom severity. Consequently, these existing measurements of PTSD are out dated and inefficient in their ability to identify and measure PTSD using the revised criteria.ConclusionThe development of a more specific measurement tool, which reflects the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria of trauma-related stressors within this population, will allow for a more comprehensive measurement of symptoms. Future research undertaken in this specific field will also help to inform education and training programs to assist with the negative impacts of trauma and aid in management and treatment of PTSD in paramedics.

AB - BackgroundThe trauma experienced as a paramedic can have a devastating psychological impact on both professionals and students in training, and increases the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Paramedics are often placed in high-risk situations involving multiple or sustained trauma and also experience high levels of occupational stress, which can produce adverse psychological and physiological responses. Despite these risks, understanding trauma and its various manifestations in paramedicine has not been well documented.MethodsThis narrative review describes the history and changes in diagnostic criteria, and contrasts the methods of measuring PTSD symptomology with the current criteria.ResultsPTSD was first defined in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition (DSM-III) in 1980, however the diagnostic criteria and associated measurement tools failed to reflect the repeated and vicarious traumatic events experienced by paramedics.Currently, the majority of the measurement tools used to assess post-traumatic stress are still aligned with superseded diagnostic criteria and many only classify the symptoms of PTSD as present or absent with little consideration given to symptom severity. Consequently, these existing measurements of PTSD are out dated and inefficient in their ability to identify and measure PTSD using the revised criteria.ConclusionThe development of a more specific measurement tool, which reflects the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria of trauma-related stressors within this population, will allow for a more comprehensive measurement of symptoms. Future research undertaken in this specific field will also help to inform education and training programs to assist with the negative impacts of trauma and aid in management and treatment of PTSD in paramedics.

KW - allied health personnel

KW - stress disorders

KW - post-traumatic

KW - paramedics

KW - measurement

U2 - 10.33151/ajp.16.681

DO - 10.33151/ajp.16.681

M3 - Review Article

VL - 16

JO - Australasian Journal of Paramedicine

JF - Australasian Journal of Paramedicine

SN - 2202-7270

ER -