Anxiety and stress are both subjective experiences. An individual’s ability to cope with stressful situations will be determined by the individual’s perception of stress and their individual coping mechanisms. Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is used by the Irish Fire Services to manage stressful events. Age and longitude of service may influence a firefighters resistance to stress and anxiety levels. The objectives of this research are; to explore if there is a difference in age, longitude and coping mechanisms on stress and anxiety levels, and to determine is problem focused solving is predominantly used as a coping mechanism amongst respondents. Qualitative questions explore Psychological Debriefing/ defusing after a stressful experience and aspects of CISM Fire Fighters currently engage in.
Method: A mixed method questionnaire based on CISS and DASS21 is being provided to participants from a full time urban based station providing EMS, and five retained stations. Participants were recruited through cross sectional convenience sampling.
Results: A moderate positive correlation between stress and avoidance and a weak positive correlation between stress and social diversion was found. There was a significant association in stress and avoidance distraction and also in stress and emotion orientated coping. Research also found no difference in age and longitude of service and the coping mechanism. Problem-focused coping is the predominant coping mechanism used for Irish based firefighters. Thematic analysis results are also provided.
Discussion: Review of findings, limitations of research and implications are discussed. Author keywords: Critical Incident Stress Management, coping mechanisms, stress, anxiety levels