Global and Occupation-Specific Emotional Resources as Buffers against the Emotional Demands of Fire-Fighting

Authors

  • Michelle R. Tuckey,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of South Australia, Australia
      Michelle Tuckey, School of Psychology, Magill Campus, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia. Email: michelle.tuckey@unisa.edu.au
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  • Renae Hayward

    1. University of South Australia, Australia
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  • We gratefully acknowledge the support of the South Australian Country Fire Service and South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission.

Michelle Tuckey, School of Psychology, Magill Campus, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia. Email: michelle.tuckey@unisa.edu.au

Abstract

Job resources have a protective role in minimising job strain and associated adverse outcomes. Although autonomy and support are recognised as valuable resources across nearly all occupations, relatively few occupation-specific resources have been identified within the literature. We studied global (general) emotional resources and an occupation-specific emotional resource (camaraderie) as potential buffers against the deleterious effects of emotional demands on emergency responders. A random sample of 547 volunteer fire-fighters completed an anonymous survey. Through path analysis we identified significant main and interaction effects of emotional demands and resources on psychological strain and burnout. Camaraderie, the specific resource, had the most consistent protective effects against poor psychological health; the effects of global emotional resources were not as consistent. These findings have important implications for theory (e.g. the specificity of resources most appropriate for theory testing and development) and for practice (e.g. for designing primary, secondary, and tertiary stress prevention and management initiatives).

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