Psychological Outcomes in Disaster Responders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effect of Social Support

IRDR Young Scientist Johnrev Guilaran published his recent research on International Journal of Disaster Risk Science with his colleague on psychological outcomes in diaster responders.

Cite this article as:Guilaran, J., de Terte, I., Kaniasty, K. et al. Int J Disaster Risk Sci (2018) 9: 344.

Disaster response work is associated with various psychological outcomes. In post-disaster conditions, social support is generally observed to impact mental health, particularly for survivors. This review was conducted to survey the extent of social support effectiveness on disaster responder groups. Published quantitative social support studies on police, emergency medical responders, rescue and recovery workers, firefighters, and military responders were searched in various academic databases using keyword searches, a reference list search, and a citation search that resulted in 24 studies with 90 effect sizes being included in the final data base. Articles were coded and effect sizes were averaged using the Hedges–Vevea Random Effects model. Nineteen categories of psychological outcomes (for example, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and psychological distress) and eight classifications of support were coded. Social support was found to be associated with anxiety, burnout, depression, job control, job satisfaction, psychological distress, turnover intentions, and work engagement, with mean effect sizes from − 0.36 to 0.57. Most studies measured perceived social support and negative outcomes. Social support correlated with outcomes in police responders and rescue and recovery workers. This review discusses the breadth of effect of social support, as well as other elements, such as temporal factors, that may affect the effectiveness of social support in disaster responders.

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