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Received Social Support and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in New Zealand and Philippine Emergency Responders

Introduction: Emergency responders are at risk of post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). This study investigates the relationship between the different components of received social support (RSS) and PTSS in these occupations.

Method: This cross-sectional study involved emergency responders from New Zealand and the Philippines (n=223). Participants answered an online questionnaire measuring social support and PTSS.

Results: High amount of total received support was significantly associated with lower levels of PTSS. Analyses of RSS components revealed that co-worker, emotional, and tangible support exhibited salutary main effects on PTSS. Furthermore, high amounts of RSS from supervisors were found to be associated with low levels of PTSS only among participants who reported low trauma exposure.

Discussion: Findings were congruent with the main effects model of RSS. Results also underscored the importance of investigating varied manifestations of social support as they may differentially influence the strength of effects of receiving social support by emergency responders.