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Issue Date: 1-Dec-2019
Title: Firefighter resilience assessment using a structured approach
Authors: Vyas, Khyati
Publisher : University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Degree : Master of Health Sciences (MHSc)
Department : Health Informatics
Supervisor : McGregor, Carolyn
Keywords: Occupational stress
Heart rate variability
Public safety personnel
Abstract: This thesis proposes a resilience assessment model to assess the physiological changes experienced during a simulated firefighting environment. Currently, a resilience assessment model that measures the response to job stressors does not exist. The model provides a mechanism to measure the level of progress or decline experienced by public safety personnel, while exposed to job-related stressors. The research design for the model includes analysis of heart rate and electrocardiogram-based RR intervals at baseline and during the training activity. The model was applied to a case study that involved an extreme heat (50° C) search and rescue training task for pre-service firefighters (mean age of 21 years and a standard deviation of 4.6 years with 20% female). The performance of the female participants revealed a 54% higher standard deviation of normal R-R interval (SDNN) score compared to male participants. Furthermore, the average of the mean heart rate (HR) for males was 18% higher than the females. The SDNN for 93% (39) of males was less than 100ms as compared to the female SDNN where only 22% (2) of participants fell below 100 ms. Applying the model revealed female participants to be more resilient than their male counterparts. Prior studies have not addressed biological sex differences in their studies and this needs to be further explored. Implementation of the resilience assessment model to assess and improve the effectiveness of resilience training programs could benefit firefighters by reducing the incidence of PTSD, depression and workplace injuries.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences - Master Theses
Electronic Theses and Dissertations (Public)

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