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Exploring the psychological health of emergency dispatch centre operatives: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

Golding, Sarah, Horsfield, Clare, Davies, Annette, Egan, Mary, Jones, Martyn, Raleigh, Mary, Schofield, Patricia, Squires, Allison, Start, Kath, Quinn, Tom and Cropley, Mark (2017) Exploring the psychological health of emergency dispatch centre operatives: a systematic review and narrative synthesis PeerJ, 5.

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Background. The study objective was to investigate and synthesize available evidence relating to the psychological health of Emergency Dispatch Centre (EDC) operatives, and to identify key stressors experienced by EDC operatives.

Methods. Eight electronic databases (Embase, PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, PsycInfo, PsycArticles, The Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection, and Google Scholar) were searched. All study designs were included, and no date limits were set. Studies were included if they were published in English, and explored the psychological health of any EDC operatives, across fire, police, and emergency medical services. Studies were excluded if they related solely to other emergency workers, such as police officers or paramedics. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed using checklists adapted from the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. A narrative synthesis was conducted, using thematic analysis.

Results. A total of 16 articles were included in the review. Two overarching themes were identified during the narrative synthesis: `Organisational and Operational Factors' and `Interactions with Others'. Stressors identified included being exposed to traumatic calls, lacking control over high workload, and working in under-resourced and pres- sured environments. Lack of support from management and providing an emotionally demanding service were additional sources of stress. Peer support and social support from friends and family were helpful in managing work-related stress.

Discussion. EDC operatives experience stress as a result of their work, which appears to be related to negative psychological health outcomes. Future research should explore the long-term effects of this stress, and the potential for workplace interventions to alleviate the negative impacts on psychological health.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Horsfield, Clare
Jones, Martyn
Schofield, Patricia
Squires, Allison
Start, Kath
Quinn, Tom
Date : 17 October 2017
DOI : 10.7717/peerj.3735
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2017 Golding et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0
Uncontrolled Keywords : Emergency dispatch; Emergency call centres; Psychological stress; Emotional stress; Job control; Systematic review; Psychological health
Additional Information : PROSPERO Registration Number: CRD42014010806
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 18 Oct 2017 08:43
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:57

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