How do paramedics cope? A scoping review

  • Author Footnotes
    Matthew Warren-James
    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Qld, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    Natalie Dodd
    School of Medicine and Dentistry, Griffith University, Birtinya, Qld, Australia

    School of Health and Sports Sciences, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Qld, Australia

    Sunshine Coast Health Institute, Birtinya, Qld, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    Chantal Perera
    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Qld, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    Lisa Clegg
    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Qld, Australia
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  • Author Footnotes
    Helen M. Stallman
    Correspondence to: Thompson Institute, University of the Sunshine Coast, Gubbi Gubbi Country, 12 Innovation Parkway, Birtinya, Qld 4575, Australia.
    Thompson Institute, University of the Sunshine Coast, Birtinya, Qld, Australia
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Published:January 06, 2022DOI:


      Exposure to repeated trauma is an inherent component of paramedicine. Additionally, paramedics are exposed to threats that can undermine healthy workplaces, social connectedness, and health behaviour, predisposing them to overwhelming distress and unhealthy coping, including suicidality and psychiatric disorders. This scoping review aimed to identify how paramedics cope. PubMed, PsycINFO and CINAHL were searched between January 1, 2010, to April 21, 2021. Studies were included if they used any research design to identify specific coping strategies used by paramedics. Three studies met the inclusion criteria—two qualitative and one cross-sectional survey design. There was a high risk of bias across all studies. Studies were conducted in Israel, Poland, and the UK, primarily with males. Two studies only identified healthy coping strategies—self-soothing and social and professional support. Unhealthy strategies identified in the third study were limited to negative self-talk and alcohol use, with no mention of other harmful behaviours, social withdrawal, or suicidality. There is limited research describing how paramedics cope, and in particular, how female paramedics cope. Further research exploring the breadth of coping strategies used by paramedics is needed to understand the impact of the work paramedics undertake on coping and inform prevention and support activities.


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