Duty-related trauma exposure in 911 telecommunicators: considering the risk for posttraumatic stress

J Trauma Stress. 2012 Apr;25(2):211-5. doi: 10.1002/jts.21687. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


Peritraumatic distress may increase the risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in police officers. Much less is known about emotional reactions and PTSD symptomatology in 911 telecommunicators. The current study assessed duty-related exposure to potentially traumatic calls, peritraumatic distress, and PTSD symptomatology in a cross-sectional, convenience sample of 171 telecommunicators. Results showed that telecommunicators reported high levels of peritraumatic distress and a moderate, positive relationship was found between peritraumatic distress and PTSD symptom severity (r = .34). The results suggest that 911 telecommunicators are exposed to duty-related trauma that may lead to the development of PTSD, and that direct, physical exposure to trauma may not be necessary to increase risk for PTSD in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergencies*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Telecommunications*
  • United States