Australian paramedics are frequently exposed to traumatic incidents as part of their role, and subsequently are at increased risk of mental health issues and negative impacts on psychological wellbeing. Evidence suggests student and early career paramedics are also at risk of trauma exposure during clinical placements. Increased levels of resilience are known to be protective against the risks of trauma exposure, and both age and experience may impact resilience. Self-efficacy is also known to influence resilience, however there is limited knowledge regarding the personal factors related to increased resilience in undergraduate and early career paramedic science students. This study aims to examine if resilience differs between age or experience groups, and if controlling for self-efficacy influences these differences.
An anonymous online survey was administered to current student paramedics and graduates from a regional Australian university. In addition to demographic characteristics, respondents completed the Brief Resilience Scale and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. Analysis of variance examined differences in resilience score based on age and clinical placement experience groups. Follow up analysis of covariance was conducted to control for self-efficacy scores.
Analysis showed resilience scores differed between age groups (F(4,54)=3.26 p=0.02. Those 26 to 30 years of age reported significantly higher resilience compared to those 18 to 25 years of age. When controlling for self-efficacy, significant differences were found between clinical placement experience groups F(4,51)=2.72, p=0.04). Those completing 200 to 360 hours had significantly lower scores compared to those with less than 200 hours, 360 to 600 hours, or more than 600 hours.
We show that self-efficacy moderates resilience in undergraduate paramedic students. Examining the impact of self-efficacy training on resilience may be an important next step in curriculum development.
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