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What is Cumulative Stress

Invisible Victims and the Pursuit of Justice: Analyzing Frequently Victimized Yet Rarely Discussed Populations
A buildup of various stressors, leading to agitation, difficulty coping, and inability to relax. Cumulative stress may occur in high-risk professions such as firefighting, but may also occur during periods of prolonged life stress (e.g., relationship breakdown, serious illness of a family member).
Published in Chapter:
The Impact of Trauma on Firefighters and Their Families
Petra M. Skeffington (Murdoch University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7348-8.ch006
Abstract
This chapter outlines the key issues that face firefighters, including prevalence of trauma-related mental health issues, the differing impact of disaster response, violence, fatalities, and cumulative stress. The risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder are explained, with attention to fixed and variable factors. Stigma and barriers to help-seeking are explored with consideration of issues specific to firefighters, and an overview of how to influence protective factors is provided. There are other aspects of firefighting other than trauma exposure that impact wellbeing; the impact of shift work, sleep disruption, alcohol use, and relationship stress are outlined. Finally, this chapter discusses the impact of firefighting on partners and families.
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