Female Firefighters at Risk of PTSD and Suicidal ThoughtsJournal of Emergency Medical Services
Female firefighters are at a high-risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing suicidal thoughts, compared to male firefightersThe study found that almost one in three (30%) female firefighters indicated that they had considered or attempted suicide compared to one in seven (15%) male firefighters.
Being single increased the risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts in both genders, previous research has indicated that having a life partner may be a protective factor for suicide.
The research also found that PTSD symptoms were more common among female firefighters, with one in five (20%) female firefighters indicating that they had experienced such symptoms, compared to one in eight (12%) male firefighters. Women who had been in the career for between 10-20 years were found to be at a higher risk of developing PTSD symptoms than those who were in the first 10 years of service.
The study also found that approximately one third of both male (31%) and female (32%) firefighters screened positive for alcohol problems.
The study assessed 2,639 firefighters, 75 women and 2,564 men in a large urban fire department. The participants filled in anonymous questionnaires indicating if they had experienced symptoms of depression, general stress, PTSD, problem behaviours associated with alcohol consumption and if they had considered or attempted suicide.
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