Female Firefighters at Increased Risk of PTSD, Suicidal Thoughts

Posted On: 06-07-2019
Female Firefighters at Increased Risk of PTSD, Suicidal Thoughts
A recent study published in the journal Occupational Medicine looks at the stress that females take on from the job as a firefighter, compared to males.

The study’s researchers, from the University of Houston, collected data from 2,639 firefighters. Of these, only 75 of the respondents were women. Of these 75 women, 20 percent scored positively for PTSD and 30 percent reported having suicidal thoughts. The symptoms of PTSD were more likely in women who had been on the job longer than ten years. These rates were higher than their male colleagues in the same fire department.

The women who had second jobs tended to show higher levels of stress.

The study’s lead researcher, Consuelo Arbona (professor of psychology at the University of Houston), stated that the study begins to explore the work and mental health characteristics of female firefighters—a smaller number of the population in each fire station that needs better understanding. In firefighters overall, more lose their lives to suicide than in the line of duty (and the difference may be even wider due to underreporting of suicides).

The findings of this study show that this is an area where psychologists can work to pinpoint effective early intervention.

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