Maladaptive Cognitions in EMS Professionals as a Function of the COVID-19 Pandemic

J Spec Oper Med. 2023 Jun 23;23(2):60-68. doi: 10.55460/Q0ZF-7JXR.

Abstract

Introduction: The coronavirus disease pandemic has pro-foundly affected emergency medical services (EMS) profes-sionals, but the emotional impact is unknown.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of North Carolina EMS profes-sionals from April to May 2021. EMS professionals on an ac-tive roster were included. With pandemic-related perceptions, the 15-item Posttraumatic Maladaptive Beliefs Scale (PMBS) was used to quantify the severity of maladaptive cognition. Significant univariate variables were used to create a hier-archical linear regression to assess the potential impact of pandemic-related factors on maladaptive cognition scores.

Results: Overall, 811 respondents were included; of those, 33.3% were female, 6.7% were minorities, and 3.2% were Latinx; the mean age was 41.11 ± 12.42 years. Mean scores on the PMBS were 37.12 ± 13.06 and ranged from 15 to 93. PMBS scores were 4.62, 3.57, and 3.99 points higher, respec-tively, in those with increased anxiety, those who trusted their sources of information, and those who reported to work de-spite being symptomatic. Pandemic-specific factors accounted for 10.6% of the variance in PMBS total scores (ΔR2 = 0.106, ΔF[9, 792]; p < .001). Psychopathological factors accounted for an additional 4.7% of the variance in PMBS total scores (ΔR2 = 0.047, ΔF[3, 789]; p < .001).

Conclusion: Given that 10.6% of the difference in PMBS scores can be explained by pandemic- related factors, maladaptive cognitions in EMS are a considerable concern and could lead to the development of significant psychopathology post-trauma.

Keywords: COVID-19; EMS; PTSI; maladaptive cognition; pandemic; paramedic; stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cognition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics