Introduction: Although diverse factors associated with occupational stress have been examined, little is known about it among 9-1-1 Telecommunicators (TCs). As the first of the first responders, they experience post-traumatic stress disorder due to vicarious trauma and often work long-shifts and overtime. A more comprehensive assessment of the factors associated with stress among TCs is crucial for development of interventions to reduce occupational stress in call centers.
Objectives: We aimed to identify the multifaceted factors associated with symptoms of stress in 9-1-1 TCs.
Methods: We analyzed data collected as part of a randomized controlled trial that evaluated a multilevel stress reduction intervention in 9-1-1 call centers across the United States and Canada. Multilevel mixed-effects linear regressions were conducted to assess the associations between individual and organizational levels of factors and self-reported symptoms of stress, accounting for the lack of independence within call-centers.
Results: At the individual levels, less resilience, less mindfulness, and greater overcommitment were significantly associated with higher levels of stress respectively (Coef. [95% CI]; -1.64 [-2.15, -1.14]; -23.07 [-25.53, -20.60]; 3.70 [2.96, 4.45]). At the organizational levels, less workplace social support and greater job requirement were significantly associated with higher level of stress respectively (-2.40 [-3.54, -1.26]; 7.87 [2.55, 13.19]). A multivariable analysis, controlling for all covariates, showed that mindfulness and workplace social support were protective factors to stress (-19.54 [-22.07, -17.02]; -0.97 [-1.77, -0.17]), while overcommitment and job requirement were risk factors for high levels of stress (1.60 [0.94, 2.26]; 4.20 [0.42, 7.98]).
Conclusions: Our findings initially show that workplace social support plays a critical role in 9-1-1 TCs’ stress as a protective factor. We suggest a future study of investigating social support at call centers to reduce 9-1-1 TCs’ stress.
Keywords: Stress Factors; Stress Management; Stress Symptoms; Telecommunicators; Occupational Stress; Randomized Controlled Trial.