Helping those who help us : examining the effect of mental training programs on resilience in first responders
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 09:07 authored by Connolly, CE
First responders are exposed to significant physical, psychological and social stressors and present with higher levels of negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress than the general population. Therefore, identifying predictors of health is paramount to preserve their wellbeing. This research implemented two brief mental training programs (mindfulness and self-reflection training) and examined their effect on psychological outcomes. A sample of police officers and state emergency service personnel (N=18) completed a baseline survey measuring resilience, depression, anxiety, job satisfaction and mindfulness. Participants were randomly allocated to a mindfulness or self-reflection group and completed mental trainings over a four-week period. Six participants completed a follow-up survey with no significant differences found between pre and post-training measures of resilience, anxiety, job satisfaction or mindfulness. There was a main effect of time on depression, suggesting that engaging in mental training was effective in reducing depressive symptoms irrespective of the training type. The results of this study suggest a role for mental training programs in improving depressive symptoms, and demonstrate the need for tailored interventions to be developed that overcome the unique practical and cultural barriers faced by first responders that may otherwise impede optimal enhance mental health and wellbeing outcomes.
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