Factors surrounding cardiopulmonary resuscitation influencing bystanders' psychological reactions

Resuscitation. 1998 Apr;37(1):13-20. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9572(98)00027-6.


The incidence of Sweden's out-of-hospital cardiac arrests averages 10000 annually. Each year bystanders initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) approximately 2000 times prior to arrival of emergency medical service (EMS). The aim of this study was to identify factors influencing the bystanders psychological reactions to performing CPR. We mailed a questionnaire to all bystanders who reported performing CPR to the CPR Centre of Sweden from autumn 1992 to 1995. The study included 544 bystander reports. Nine factors were found to be associated with bystanders experience in a univariate analysis. Among these were victim outcome (p < 0.0001), CPR duration (p = 0.0009) and their experience of the attitude of the EMS personnel (p = 0.004). In a multivariate logistic regression model, lack of debriefing following the intervention (p = 0.0001) and fatal victim outcome (p = 0.03) were independent predictors of a negative bystander psychological reaction. The importance of having someone to talk to following an intervention and the EMS personnel concern for the rescuer should be emphasised. The goal should be that critical incident debriefing is available to every bystander following his or her CPR attempt.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / psychology*
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Humans
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome