An investigation into Type A behaviour, stress levels and coping styles of firefighters in the Dublin Fire Brigade

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Dann, Gillian
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BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The current study investigated the relationship between Type A behaviour, general wellbeing, and perceived stress. The current study also examined Type A traits that were characteristic of firefighters, and investigated the different coping styles employed by firefighters. The literature formulated suggests Type A people are very suitable for emergency services work being competitive, experience seeking, enjoying risk taking and displaying leadership tendencies (Ibbotson, 1999). Type As have a tendency to perceive their tasks as being more demanding and as a result make them more demanding (Schalk and Van den Berg, 1997). The current study investigated the relationship between (a) Type A and perceived stress (b) Type A and general well-being (c) general well-being and perceived stress. The sample comprised of firefighters from the Dublin Fire Brigade (n = 54), 53 males and 1 female. The study used a between subjects design. Data was compiled using questionnaires. Pearson's correlation showed a significant relationship between (a) Type A and perceived stress (r=. 369, P<0.01, two tailed) (b) Type A and general wellbeing (r=. 357, P<0.01, two tailed) (c) general wellbeing and perceived stress (r=. 603, P<0.01, two tailed). The majority of firefighters employed approach-focused coping. The majority of firefighters were shown to be competitive and having a strong need to excel at most things, characteristics typical of Type A behaviour. The study highlights a need for further research into ‘macho type cultures’ and ‘image armour’ which may have repercussions for new recruits seeking support.