Basic dimensions of resilient coping in paramedics and dispatchers

Dan Bilsker, Merv Gilbert, Lynn Alden, Ingrid Sochting, Adri Khalis

Abstract


Introduction

Paramedics and dispatchers are exposed to high levels of stress and consequent psychological injury. Resilience training enhances the capacity to cope with stress and be resilient. It is widely recommended that resilience training be customised to specific occupational groups, but there is no established method for achieving such customisation. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify dimensions underlying resilient coping in paramedics and dispatchers. The objective was to provide a basis for customised resilience training in this population.

Methods

The Resilient Coping Survey (RCS) was developed on the basis of interviews with paramedics and dispatchers as well as scoping review to identify coping items relevant to this occupational group. The RCS included scales of coping (Resilience at Work and the Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form), a scale of self-perceived resilience (the Brief Resilience Scale) and a set of items reflecting coping skills specific to paramedic service work. The survey was administered to paramedics and dispatchers in British Columbia, Canada.

Results

703 paramedics and dispatchers responded to the survey. Analysis of the survey data identified five resilient coping factors: balance, self-acceptance, trusted social support, meaningful work and physical self-care. Each of these factors predicted resilience. No difference was found overall in resilience across gender; but only for male workers did resilience fall steadily with years of service.

Conclusion

Resilience training for paramedics and dispatchers would appropriately target the five resilient coping factors and be delivered throughout the paramedic service career.

 


Keywords


resilience; EMS; paramedic services; paramedic; dispatcher

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.33151/ajp.16.690

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