Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1993;19(2):121-125    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1497

Psychological distress and alcohol use among fire fighters.

by Boxer PA, Wild D

Few studies have investigated stressors to which fire fighters are subjected and the potential psychological consequences. One hundred and forty-five fire fighters were studied to enumerate potential occupational stressors, assess psychological distress and problems with alcohol use, and determine whether a relationship exists between these measures and self-reported stressors. Hearing that children are in a burning building was the highest ranked stressor. According to three self-report instruments, between 33 and 41% of the fire fighters were experiencing significant psychological distress, and 29% had possible or probable problems with alcohol use. These figures are significantly higher than would be expected in a typical community or working population. In a logistic regression analysis, no relationship was found between measures of psychological distress and alcohol use and the 10 most highly ranked work stressors.