Using a Mobile Application to Address Stress-Related Symptoms in Emergency Dispatchers
Emy Wilis, MS, Deborah Beidel, PhD, ABPP, Clint Bowers, PhD, and Sandra Neer, PhD
Jun 03, 2020|AEDR 2020 Vol. 8 Issue 1|Original Research
Introduction: Emergency dispatchers report significant job stress, yet few controlled investigations examine their specific psychological complaints. Additionally, research examining the use of interventions directed at alleviating their work-related stress is limited.
Objective: This study aims to examine the efficacy and feasibility of a mobile application (PTSD Coach) on various indicators of psychosocial well-being among emergency telecommunicator dispatchers.
Methods: A sample of 117 emergency dispatchers attending the 2018 NAVIGATOR conference agreed to participate in a study examining the impact of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Coach on work-related stress. Over a one-month period of use, they completed weekly surveys of mood. The results indicated that dispatchers experience a wide range of emergency calls, some of which create moderate to severe distress.
Results: Twenty-three percent (23%) of the sample (n = 27) met criteria for PTSD. Engagement with PTSD Coach over a one-month period resulted in statistically significant decreases in PTSD symptom severity and other psychological indicators. Conclusion: Mobile application such as PTSD Coach offer accessible and often free psychoeducational and self-management tools to those who may shy away from conventional mental health treatment. The tools provided in the PTSD Coach allowed the dispatchers to practice managing their mood discretely. Additional modifications and application relevance are discussed.