Alcohol/substance use and occupational/post-traumatic stress in paramedics

Andrew Hichisson, John Corkery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Paramedics work in high-pressure environments and experience
traumatic events, which contribute to high levels of occupational and posttraumatic stress. Such stress can result in alcohol and substance misuse in
other health professionals, but this relationship has not been examined in
paramedics. This review is the first exploration of the literature on this.
Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted using PRISMA guidelines, with databases searched using terms relevant to paramedics and alcohol/substance use. Studies were analysed using descriptive statistics for quantitative data and thematic analysis for qualitative information.
Findings: Eleven studies were identified. Nine studies examined alcohol use; seven examined substance use; five examined both. Alcohol and smoking may be linked to occupational stress.
Conclusions: The nature and extent of alcohol and substance use in relation
to occupational and post-traumatic stress among paramedics need further
investigation to facilitate advice and support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-396
JournalJournal of Paramedic Practice
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • Paramedic
  • Emergency medical services
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Occupational stress
  • Alcohol use
  • Substance use


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