Prevalence rate of PTSD, Depression and Anxiety symptoms among Saudi Firefighters
Background: Firefighters have a high likelihood of being exposed to a variety of traumatic events. Traumatic events may occur during any rescue, such as providing aid to seriously injured victims or seeing a colleague injured. The psychological cost of this exposure may increase the risk of long-term problems such as PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression. Moreover, firefighters who are injured in the line of duty sometimes have to retire as a consequence of their injury.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of traumatic events, PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression, and assess related variables such as coping strategies and social support among Saudi firefighters.
Method: Two hundred Saudi firefighters completed the Firefighters Trauma History Screen (FTHS) to measure the number of traumatic events; the Screen for Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms (SPTSS) scale to assess the prevalence of PTSD symptoms; the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess depression and anxiety; the Brief COPE (BC) Scale to measure coping strategies used; and the Social Support Scale to evaluate the support that firefighters receive.
Results: The results showed that 57% of firefighters fully met DSM-IV criteria for PTSD symptoms; the prevalence of anxiety and depression was 44.4% and 53.3% respectively. PTSD symptoms were significantly correlated with, anxiety, depression and passive coping strategies but not with active coping or social support.
Conclusion: These results suggest that firefighters who experience multiple traumatic events as a result of their work environment may develop related symptoms, and they should not be neglected.