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ISSN: 1522-4821

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience
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Research Article

Life after the Emergency Services: An Exploratory Study of Well Being and Quality of Life in Emergency Service Retirees

Bracken-Scally. M1*, McGilloway. S1, Gallagher. S2, & Mitchell. J.T3

1Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), Ireland

2National Ambulance Service, Health Service Executive, Ireland

3Department of Emergency Health Services, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), USA

*Corresponding Author:
Bracken-Scally. M
E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract

Much is known about the negative impact of emergency services work, but no studies, to date, have investigated its long-term consequences. This cross-sectional study assesses the possible long-term effects on quality of life, of trauma exposure and emergency work in a sample of retirees from the Irish emergency services (n=169) and a comparison group of non-emergency service retirees (n=140). A multi-questionnaire postal survey was administered to assess quality of life (QoL; WHOQOL-BREF), experiences of trauma, and trauma symptoms (PSS-SR). QoL was significantly better in non-emergency retirees, whilst this group also had significantly fewer trauma symptoms. Incidents involving children were identified by a large proportion of emergency retirees as being particularly difficult to manage. The findings address a significant gap in our knowledge around the possible longer term effects of emergency services work in an often neglected sub-group. Factors associated with increased QoL and reduced symptoms of PTSD are discussed, as are some possible recommendations for the future.

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