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A smartphone ecological momentary assessment ‘app’ for collecting real-time data on posttraumatic stress injuries in firefighters

Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Trauma

Title of research

A smartphone ecological momentary assessment ‘app’ for collecting real-time data on posttraumatic stress injuries in firefighters

Summary

Public Safety Personnel (PSP) are exposed to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) regularly. Firefighters, on average, are exposed to approximately eight different types of PTEs a year. As a result of this exposure, they may suffer from posttraumatic stress injuries (PTSIs) or other mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and substance misuse.

It is recommended that within the first month following a PTE that PSP who were exposed should be repeatedly assessed to detect early signs of symptoms and to manage these difficulties before they become an issue. New technologies like apps might provide a timely and useful way to carry out the assessments.

The goal of the current research is to conduct a longitudinal study. This study will be used to create recommendations for how PTSI symptoms can be assessed and monitored in real-time via a mobile app. Two hundred male firefighters, recruited throughout Montreal, will be required to complete several questionnaires via the mobile app every two weeks for three months.

The data from this study could demonstrate the usefulness of mobile apps as a cost-effective method for providing regular support to PSP exposed to PTEs.

When to expect results

The research team will share their current results at the end-of-grant workshop in 2020.

Research team

Stephane Guay, professor of psychology at Université de Montréal; Dr. Suzie Bond, psychotherapist at the Institute of Mental Health at Université de Montréal; Dr. Steve Geoffrion, adjunct professor in psychoeducation at Université de Montréal; Dr. Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, associate professor in criminology at Université de Montréal.

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