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    “The Forgotten Helpers? Life After the Emergency Services”

    Bracken-Scally, Mairead (2015) “The Forgotten Helpers? Life After the Emergency Services”. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Background: The impact of emergency service work on the health and well-being of personnel has been well documented in the literature. Despite this, however, very little is known about the experiences of emergency service retirees and their Quality of Life (QoL). Aims: The principal aim of this study was to assess the overall QoL and wellbeing of retired emergency services (ambulance and fire) personnel. The specific objectives of the study were to: (1) ascertain the possible long-term effects, on overall QoL, of working in the emergency services; (2) explore the experiences and views of retirees; and (3) to gather information on retirement policies and procedures for emergency service personnel. Method: The study was conducted within a sequential mixed methods framework, and incorporated three key stages. Stage One involved interviews with key informants from emergency services (N=14) to investigate their views around current retirement policies and procedures. Stage Two employed a multiquestionnaire postal survey to garner information on retirement, QoL and post-trauma symptoms both in emergency service retirees (N=169) and in a comparison sample (N=140). In-depth one-to-one interviews with a sample of emergency service retirees (N=12, 7% of Stage Two sample) were conducted in Stage Three to supplement the survey findings and gather more in-depth information around retirement experiences. Results: The results suggest that life in the emergency services can potentially negatively impact QoL with possible long-term effects on overall health and well-being (e.g. significantly higher levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, and significantly lower QoL in emergency service retirees). A number of common themes emerged across stages including: retirement as a major life change; the longer term impact of trauma; the importance of support and guidance for retirees; and a need for employers to help improve the transition to retirement through appropriate procedures, practices and policies. Conclusion: Collectively, the findings demonstrate that there is a need to: ease the transition to retirement; improve in-service trauma management; and implement appropriate and effective health promotion strategies (e.g. resiliency training) to help mitigate the longer term impact of trauma in this occupational sub-group.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Forgotten Helpers; Life; Emergency Services;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 6428
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2015 16:35
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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