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Abstract

Introduction: Empirical literature examining the health and wellness of emergency responders has continued to grow over the past decade. Yet there is a relative absence of literature on 911 telecommunicators, who are often the “first, first responders” in an emergency. Examination of work-related factors that enhance risk for stress and adverse outcomes may improve current prevention and intervention efforts in this population.

Methods: Civilian 911 calltakers and dispatchers from the state of California (N = 833) participated in an online study to examine the impact of work-related factors (i.e., work-life balance, burnout, work conditions) on health-related outcomes (i.e., satisfaction with life, depression/anxiety, physical health). Further, the extent to which work-related factors had an indirect effect on health outcomes through perceived stress was tested using path analysis.

Results: Results indicated that burnout and work-life balance had significant direct effects on perceived stress and health-related outcomes. Further, perceived stress was a mechanism by which burnout and work-life balance had an impact on health-related outcomes.

Conclusions: Work conditions (i.e., mandatory overtime, weekend shifts) exhibited a direct effect only on satisfaction with life. Implications for study findings on the 911 industry are discussed.

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