EXPERIENCES OF SECONDARY TRAUMA AMONGST SPOUSES OF EMERGENCY SERVICE PERSONNEL

Kerry Wheater, Charlene Erasmus

Abstract


This article explored the secondary trauma experiences of the spouses of medical emergency service personnel (ESP). Eight spouses of ESP were interviewed and this produced five themes. Some of the EMS personnel bring their caring and supportive nature into the relationship and use the insight learnt in their role to benefit the relationship. Negative impacts of emergency work on relationships were increased arguments, decreased quality time, distancing from spouses, communication breakdown and fewer social activities. Secondary trauma is characterised by fears about safety of their spouse, behaviour changes from living with their spouses’ emotional reactivity, and social withdrawal from family members.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15270/53-4-593

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ISSN 2312-7198  (online) ; ISSN 0037-8054 (print)


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