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Occupational health of frontline workers in Christchurch

24 months
Approved budget:
Dr David McBride
Health issue:
Occupational health
Proposal type:
Health Implications of the Canterbury Earthquake Project
Lay summary
The role of first-responders in mitigating the effects of earthquakes is vital. Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes are not a single event. It is important to understand the demands faced by these workers, how they cope, and what enables them to perform their roles. This research focuses on: Firefighters, St John's Ambulance workers, military personnel, utility workers, construction/demolition workers, police, Maori Wardens, Red Cross workers, NGOs and teachers. It will combine a repeated cross-sectional survey of workers and their family members with prospective data from work and health records, and a comparison group. The study will address a range of post-traumatic conditions and outcome measures including: (1) the first-responders’ relationships (peer, family, social/cultural factors); (2) self-confidence and self-esteem; (3) team and group cohesiveness; (4) coping skills; (5) subsequent work performance and satisfaction; (6) psycho-morbidity. The study will document the long-term trajectory of adjustment, recovery and occupational health outcomes.