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Personal and Environmental Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress in Emergency Management Professionals Open Access

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This cross-sectional survey research examined levels of trauma exposure frequency, burnout, compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a non-random sample of emergency management professionals. Three models exploring how personality factors (neuroticism, extraversion), ethnic identity strength, trauma exposure frequency, burnout, and compassion satisfaction predict posttraumatic stress symptoms were tested. Professionals were recruited for an online survey from four emergency management associations via an email announcement sent to member list-servs and attendees at one emergency management event. The data from 197 participants were analyzed with hierarchical regression analysis.The results supported the hypothesis that a model containing neuroticism and extraversion, trauma exposure frequency, burnout, and compassion satisfaction would account for the most variance in predicting PTSD symptoms as compared to individual predictors, namely, personality, frequency of trauma exposure, and repeated exposure symptomology. Neuroticism, burnout, and compassion satisfaction were found to be significant, individual positive predictors in the context of the full model. There was no support for the hypothesis that the predictor variables moderate the relationship between trauma exposure frequency and PTSD symptoms. Ethnic identity strength did not significantly contribute to variance in the model or serve as a moderator with trauma exposure. Future areas of research suggested include replication with a random more diverse sample, consideration of alternate trauma exposure measurement methods, and examination of additional pathways in which the study's variables may influence PTSD symptoms.

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