Post-traumatic stress disorder and its predictors in emergency medical service personnel: A cross-sectional study from Karachi, Pakistan

Salima Mansoor Kerai, Uzma Rahim Khan, Muhammad Islam, Nargis Asad, Junaid Razzak, Omrana Pasha

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel who work to provide emergency medical care at the scene and during transportation are exposed to various kinds of stressors and are particularly susceptible to developing stress-reactions. This study assesses symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and its predictors among the personnel of a selected EMS in Karachi, Pakistan. Methods: Data were gathered from 518 personnel working in an EMS setting from February to May 2014. Participants were screened for post-traumatic stress symptoms using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Demographic and work-related characteristics, coping styles and the social support systems of the participants were assessed. Linear regression was used on the IES-R to identify predictors of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Results: The mean score of the IES-R was 23.9 ± 12.1. EMS personnel with a dysfunctional coping style (β = 0.67 CI 0.39 - 0.95), anxiety, and depression (β = 0.64 CI 0.52 - 0.75) were more likely to have increased severity of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Age was found to have an inverse relationship with stress symptoms (β = 0.17 CI 0.33 - -0.023), indicating the susceptibility of younger EMS personnel to stress. Conclusion: The EMS personnel in this setting were found to have a moderate level of post-traumatic stress symptoms. The significant predictors of post-traumatic stress symptoms in this EMS population were age, coping style, and levels of anxiety and depression. These predicting factors can be a potential avenue for interventions to improve the mental health of these frontline workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017


  • Emergency medical service
  • Karachi
  • Low- and middle-income country
  • Pakistan
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder


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