Research paper| Volume 25, ISSUE 4, P321-326, December 2022

How do paramedics and student paramedics cope? A cross-sectional study


      Despite threats to wellbeing inherent in paramedicine, little is known about how paramedics cope. This study explored the breadth of healthy and unhealthy coping strategies used by paramedics and student paramedics. A convenience sample of 198 paramedics and student paramedics completed an online survey. Wellbeing was measured using WHO-5 and coping using the Coping Index. Primary outcomes were summarised using descriptive statistics. Most of the sample had wellbeing (68%); student paramedics had significantly better wellbeing than paramedics. There was no significant difference between paramedics and student paramedics on healthy or unhealthy coping. Participants with ill-being had significantly fewer healthy and more unhealthy coping strategies than those with wellbeing, and relatively few used professional support (28%). Internationally, few studies have reported coping strategies in paramedics. This study expands our understanding of healthy and unhealthy coping strategies used by paramedics and student paramedics. The results support research that shows paramedic work affects wellbeing, however not that paramedics are at greater risk of unhealthy coping than students or the general population. The results have implications for both the prevention of overwhelming distress in the workplace and the need to increase the use of professional support to prevent unhealthy coping, including suicidality.


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