Stress and Well-being of First Responders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


First responders place themselves in harm’s way providing public safety and urgent on-site pre-hospital health care. Their work is physically demanding, requiring 24-hour coverage and ongoing exposure to injury, violence, death and destruction. Rates of posttraumatic stress among first responders ranges from 8 to 32 per cent and vary based on the setting, source of the crisis, available support, training, and personal characteristics. Chronic stress and unaddressed trauma can affect first responders’ work performance, relationships, morbidity, and mortality. Traumatic stress can dysregulate neurophysiology and negatively impact psychological and physical health. In order to remain in the workforce and have a healthy quality of life it is imperative that first responders are afforded the same psychological support and care that they provide others. Psychological first aid, support, and cognitive behavioral strategies are among the most promising strategies for fostering resiliency and reducing the impact of stress and PTSD among first responders.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages72
ISBN (Print)978 1 78897 034 1
StatePublished - 2020


  • Resilience
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • trauma
  • First responder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Professions(all)

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  • Cite this

    Bergen-Cico, D. (2020). Stress and Well-being of First Responders. In Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector (First ed., pp. 58). Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd..