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Title: Stress among on-duty firefighters: an ambulatory assessment study
Authors: Susana Cristina Rodrigues
Joana Isabel Paiva
Duarte Filipe Dias
João Paulo Cunha
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: <jats:sec> <jats:title>Background</jats:title> <jats:p>Stress at work has been broadly acknowledged as a worldwide problem and has been the focus of concern for many researchers. Firefighting, in particular, is frequently reported as a highly stressful occupation. In order to investigate firefighters’ occupational health in terms of stress events, perceptions, symptoms, and physiological reactions under real-world conditions, an ambulatory assessment protocol was developed.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Methods</jats:title> <jats:p>Seventeen firefighters’ cardiac signal was continuously monitored during an average of three shifts within a working week with medical clinically certified equipment (VitalJacket®), which allows for continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) and actigraphy measurement. Psychological data were collected with a software application running on smartphones, collecting potential stressful events, stress symptoms, and stress appraisal.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Results</jats:title> <jats:p>A total of 450.56 h of medical-quality ECG were collected, and heart rate variability (HRV) analysis was performed. Findings suggest that although ‘fire’ situations are more common, ‘accidents’ are more stressful. Additionally, firefighters showed high levels of physiological stress (based on AVNN and LF/HF HRV metrics) when compared to normative healthy population values that may not be diagnosed using merely self-reports.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title>Discussion</jats:title> <jats:p>The proposed ambulatory study seems to be useful for the monitoring of stress levels and its potential impact on health of first responders. Additionally, it could also be an important tool for the design and implementation of efficient interventions and informed management resolutions in real time. Potential applications of this research include the development of quantified occupational health (qOHealth) devices for real life monitoring of emergency personnel stress reactions.</jats:p> </jats:sec>
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Appears in Collections:C-BER - Articles in International Journals

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