Psychological distress and alcohol use among fire fighters

Scand J Work Environ Health. 1993 Apr;19(2):121-5. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.1497.


Few studies have investigated stressors to which fire fighters are subjected and the potential psychological consequences. One hundred and forty-five fire fighters were studied to enumerate potential occupational stressors, assess psychological distress and problems with alcohol use, and determine whether a relationship exists between these measures and self-reported stressors. Hearing that children are in a burning building was the highest ranked stressor. According to three self-report instruments, between 33 and 41% of the fire fighters were experiencing significant psychological distress, and 29% had possible or probable problems with alcohol use. These figures are significantly higher than would be expected in a typical community or working population. In a logistic regression analysis, no relationship was found between measures of psychological distress and alcohol use and the 10 most highly ranked work stressors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Fires / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Workload / psychology