The Primary Prevention of PTSD in Firefighters: Preliminary Results of an RCT with 12-Month Follow-Up
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AIM: To develop and evaluate an evidence-based and theory driven program for the primary prevention of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). DESIGN: A pre-intervention / post-intervention / follow up control group design with clustered random allocation of participants to groups was used. The "control" group received "Training as Usual" (TAU). METHOD: Participants were 45 career recruits within the recruit school at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) in Western Australia. The intervention group received a four-hour resilience training intervention (Mental Agility and Psychological Strength training) as part of their recruit training school curriculum. Data was collected at baseline and at 6- and 12-months post intervention. RESULTS: We found no evidence that the intervention was effective in the primary prevention of mental health issues, nor did we find any significant impact of MAPS training on social support or coping strategies. A significant difference across conditions in trauma knowledge is indicative of some impact of the MAPS program. CONCLUSION: While the key hypotheses were not supported, this study is the first randomised control trial investigating the primary prevention of PTSD. Practical barriers around the implementation of this program, including constraints within the recruit school, may inform the design and implementation of similar programs in the future. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12615001362583.
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