Occupational related consequences for relatives of firefighters

Hill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2938-8825, 2015. Occupational related consequences for relatives of firefighters. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

Firefighters are exposed to a high prevalence of both occupational and traumatic stress, consequently protective factors, such as social support, become highly relevant to the well-being of this population. Accordingly the psychological health of firefighters is maintained, in part, by their family (Regehr, Dimitropoulos, Bright, George, and Henderson, 2005; Beaton, Murphy, Johnson, Pike, and Corneil, 1999). This thesis aimed to inform the published literature by establishing a detailed model of occupational impacts of the firefighting occupation on relatives of firefighters and the resources they use to manage those impacts. This was undertaken using a sequential mixed methods approach through three empirical studies. Findings across the thesis include the development of the firefighter becoming a ‘satellite’ family member in order to protect against unusual working patterns, secondary traumatic reactions and relatives’ perception of danger and harm within the occupation. In addition to this, findings clearly highlight the need for firefighters to share their expertise and job content with their families; facilitating the relatives’ ability to protect their personal resilience and well-being and their firefighter. However if firefighters become disengaged, rather than a ‘satellite’ family member, then their reactions to their job content becomes decontextualised for their relatives. This in turn causes the well-being of relatives to decrease and an increase in secondary trauma of the relative related to their firefighter’s experiences. A prevalence rate of 12% was established for this population of secondary trauma for relatives of firefighters by this thesis. To establish the homogeneity of this population differences were explored based upon rank, length of service of the firefighters, and continent of service, all of which suggest the group is homogenous. Differences of length of time the relative has lived with the firefighter were significant providing further support to the finding that educating relatives about the role of the firefighter is an enabling and protective factor. Implications for theory are discussed, concluding with evidenced-based recommendations to effectively support both firefighters and their families. Practical methods are outlined to develop a positive resource ecology within the fire and rescue service community in order to build collective resilience and protect well-being amongst its membership.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: This research programme was carried out in collaboration with the UK Fire and Rescue Service.
Creators: Hill, R.
Date: July 2015
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 10 Aug 2016 08:04
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 14:04
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28278

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