a1 The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Houston, Texas
Objective To assess the prevalence of traumatic stress experienced by secondary responders to disaster events to determine if mental health education should be included in HAZWOPER training.
Methods Preexisting survey tools for assessing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resiliency, and mental distress were combined to form a web-based survey tool that was distributed to individuals functioning in secondary response roles. Data were analyzed using the Fisher exact test, 1-way ANOVA, and 1-sample t tests.
Results Respondents reported elevated PTSD levels (32.9%) as compared to the general population. HAZWOPER-trained responders with disaster work experience were more likely to be classified as PTSD positive as compared to untrained, inexperienced responders and those possessing only training or experience. A majority (68.75%) scored below the mean resiliency level of 80.4 on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale. Respondents with only training or both training and experience were more likely to exhibit lower resiliency scores than those with no training or experience. PTSD positivity correlated with disaster experience. Among respondents, 91% indicated support for mental health education.
Conclusions Given the results of the survey, consideration should be given to the inclusion of pre- and postdeployment mental health education in the HAZWOPER training regimen. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1-9)
(Online publication July 04 2013)
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to Joshua Calcote, DrPH, in care of Robert J. Emery, DrPH, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, 1200 Herman Pressler RAS W-1022, Houston, Texas 77030 (e-mail: Joshua.Calcote@yahoo.com).