Mindfulness is associated with fewer PTSD symptoms, depression symptoms, physical symptoms, and alcohol problems in urban firefighters
Objective: This study investigated the association between mindfulness, other resilience resources, and several measures of health in 124 urban firefighters.
Method: Participants completed health measures of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and alcohol problems and measures of resilience resources including mindfulness, optimism, personal mastery, and social support. The Mindful Awareness and Attention Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2003) was used to assess mindfulness. Participants also completed measures of firefighter stress, number of calls, and years as a firefighter as control variables. Hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted with the health measures as the dependent variables with 3 levels of independent variables: (a) demographic characteristics, (b) firefighter variables, and (c) resilience resources.
Results:The results showed that mindfulness was associated with fewer PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and alcohol problems when controlling for the other study variables. Personal mastery and social support were also related to fewer depressive symptoms, firefighter stress was related to more PTSD symptoms and alcohol problems, and years as a firefighter were related to fewer alcohol problems.
Conclusions: Mindfulness may be important to consider and include in models of stress, coping, and resilience in firefighters. Future studies should examine the prospective relationship between mindfulness and health in firefighters and others in high-stress occupations.
Smith, B.W., Alexis J. Ortiz, Laurie E. Steffen, Erin M. Tooley, Kathryn T. Wiggins, Elizabeth A.Yeater, Jhon D. Montoya and Michael L. Bernard. 2011. "Mindfulness is associated with fewer PTSD symptoms, depression symptoms, physical symptoms, and alcohol problems in urban firefighters." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 79 (5): 613-617.