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In the Line of FireTrauma in the Emergency Services$
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Cheryl Regehr and Ted Bober

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165029

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165029.001.0001

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ARE YOU COMING HOME TONIGHT?

ARE YOU COMING HOME TONIGHT?

The Impact of Emergency Service Work on Families

Chapter:
(p.113) 8 ARE YOU COMING HOME TONIGHT?
Source:
In the Line of Fire
Author(s):

CHERYL REGEHR

TED BOBER

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165029.003.0008

Families of responders are also significantly affected by their loved one’s choice of work. Daily stressors include coping with shift work, and long and unpredictable hours that can interfere with family activities, and undermine their sense of support. Added to this is the constant fear for the emergency responder’s safety. When critical events occur, these fears are heightened. Over time, the coping strategies employed by emergency responders can cause additional stress on families. One result of exposure to trauma described by workers was that they at times felt disengaged and emotionally distant from family members. Another issue was generalized anger and irritability that was often vented on family. Further, responders described generalized fears for the safety of family members and a tendency to become overprotective. Alternately, other responders described the way that exposure to traumatic events caused them to re-evaluate and value family relationships in a more positive manner. Strategies for family survival are discussed.

Keywords:   shift work, marriage, family, spouse, trauma contagion, family survival, emotional numbing, social support, over protective

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