Low self-reported stress despite immune-physiological changes in paramedics during rescue operations

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Corinna Peifer
Vera Hagemann
Maren Claus
Mauro F. Larra
Fabienne Aust
Marvin Kühn
Monika Owczarek
Peter Broede
Marlene Pacharra
Holger Steffens
Carsten Watzl
Edmund Wascher
Silvia Capellino

Abstract

Despite the high stress levels, paramedics seem to ignore or even negate the stress. This can be detrimental and lead to stress-related diseases. Therefore, we investigated the divergence between physiological and psychological stress responses of paramedics. Participants were 16 paramedics and 17 white-collar workers. We assessed psychological stress parameters, cortisol awakening response (CAR), and quantified immune parameters. In paramedics, electrocardiogram (ECG) was measured during one complete 24-hour shift. Our results revealed that CAR was higher in paramedics compared to controls. An alteration of immune parameters was observed even during days of free time. Also, ECG recordings showed acute stress in paramedics during rescue situations. Questionnaires revealed that rescue-service specific stressors affect psychological outcomes. However, paramedics reported significantly less mental stress and higher levels of depersonalization than controls. Taken together, our results suggest higher stress in paramedics compared to controls. However, paramedics negate their daily stress. Our findings underline therefore the importance to develop stress-management interventions for paramedics including sensitization for their stress reactions.

Article Details

How to Cite
Peifer, C., Hagemann, V., Claus, M., Larra, M. F., Aust, F., Kühn, M., Owczarek, M., Broede, P., Pacharra, M., Steffens, H., Watzl, C., Wascher, E., & Capellino, S. (2021). Low self-reported stress despite immune-physiological changes in paramedics during rescue operations. EXCLI Journal, 20, 792-811. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2021-3617
Section
Original articles
Author Biographies

Corinna Peifer, University of Lübeck, Department of Psychology, Lübeck, Germany

Department of Psychology

Vera Hagemann, University of Bremen, Faculty of Business Studies and Economics, Bremen, Germany

Faculty of Business Studies and Economics

Maren Claus, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Department of Immunology, Dortmund, Germany

Department of Immunology

Mauro F. Larra, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Department of Ergonomics, Dortmund, Germany

Department of Ergonomics

Fabienne Aust, University of Lübeck, Department of Psychology, Lübeck, Germany; Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Psychology, Bochum, Germany

Department of Psychology

Marvin Kühn, Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Psychology, Bochum, Germany

Faculty of Psychology

Monika Owczarek, Ruhr University Bochum, Faculty of Psychology, Bochum, Germany

Faculty of Psychology

Peter Broede, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Department of Immunology, Dortmund, Germany

Department of Immunology

Marlene Pacharra, MSH Medical School Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences and Medical University, Hamburg, Germany

University of Applied Sciences and Medical University

Carsten Watzl, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Department of Immunology, Dortmund, Germany

Department of Immunology

Edmund Wascher, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Department of Ergonomics, Dortmund, Germany

Department of Ergonomics

Silvia Capellino, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), Department of Immunology, Dortmund, Germany

Department of Immunology

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