Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Occupational Health. (2023). 63(1), e12219. SIEC No: 20230757
Background and Objectives Much of the research surrounding firefighter health has concerned the hazards intuitively associated with the occupation, such as physical, thermal, and chemical risks. However, an additional aspect of their work environment, psychosocial stressors, has begun to attract a growing level of attention. Work-related psychosocial stress may best be described as mental and emotional strain caused by a combination of workplace events and characteristics, and the objective of our review was to identify the health outcomes associated with these stressors in firefighters. Methods A systematic review was performed of studies reporting on the psychosocial stressors and the associated health outcomes experienced by firefighters. Data sources included the MEDLINE, PsychInfo, and CINAHL databases. Results Twenty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Upon analysis, we found that firefighters experienced a range of psychosocial stressors (including interpersonal conflict and concerns over organizational fairness) and observed that these stressors were associated with a number of health-related outcomes that could be arranged into six areas: depression-suicidality, non-depressive mental health problems, burnout, alcohol use disorders, sleep quality, and physiological parameters and somatic disorders. Conclusion Our findings strongly suggest that work-related psychosocial stressors can affect the health and well-being of those in the fire service, and highlight that interventions meant to address these psychosocial risk factors should focus upon promoting self-esteem, enhancing self-efficacy, and strengthening social support.