Predictors of PTSD and CPTSD in UK firefighters

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

John Langtry, Marcin Owczarek, Donal McAteer, Laurence Taggart, Christina Gleeson,Catherine Walshe & Mark Shevlin


Background: Globally, professional firefighters are often exposed to traumatic events and are at high risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

Objective: With the publication of the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) there arose a need for research based on the new diagnostic criteria, and the associated disorder, Complex PTSD (CPTSD).

Method: Participants were 1300 former or present firefighters from the UK. Prevalence rates of PTSD and CPTSD were estimated using International Trauma Questionnaire in accordance with ICD-11 criteria, and service related and personal trauma exposure were also assessed using an anonymous online questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression was performed to assess how service and personal trauma exposure predicted PTSD and CPTSD.

Results: CPTSD criteria were met by 18.23% (95% CI 16.13–20.33%) and PTSD criteria were met by 5.62% (95% CI 4.37–6.87%) of the sample. Experiencing higher levels of service-related trauma significantly increased the risk for both PTSD and CPTSD, and nonwork related trauma uniquely predicted CPTSD but not PTSD.

Conclusions: This study provided the first examination of the new ICD-11 criteria for PTSD and CPTSD in a large sample of firefighters, and CPTSD was more common than PTSD. Exposure to multiple different types of trauma increased the odds of PTSD and CPTSD.

© 2023 NTVP - All Rights Reserved