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Exploring the Association Between Exercise Activity and Mental Health Among Canadian Paramedics

Keywords: Exercise, Mental Health


High rates of mental health symptoms among trusted individuals known as public safety personnel (e.g., correctional workers, firefighters, paramedics, municipal/federal police) have motivated government officials to call for immediate action. Among Canadian public safety personnel, paramedics are more likely to experience clinically significant mental health issues than most of their public safety peers (Carleton et al., 2018). Unique occupational stressors may account for the higher prevalence of mental health symptoms among paramedics (Carleton et al., 2020); however, a critical factor remains unexamined. Researchers have not explored the potential benefits of exercise on paramedic mental health. Substantial and long-standing research evidence supports exercise as improving physical and mental health (e.g., Posadzki et al., 2020). Paramedics emphasize the importance of exercise for their physical and mental health, but report significant structural and systemic barriers to their exercising (Sheridan, 2019). Improving support for paramedic exercise offers opportunities to alleviate financial, societal, and personal burdens associated with physical and mental challenges. The proposed project is designed to (1) describe current exercise activity among Canadian paramedics; (2) assess the association between paramedics’ exercise activity and mental health symptoms; and (3) gather information regarding exercise attitudes, preferences, barriers, and patterns. If there is evidence of the expected inverse association between exercise activity and mental health symptom severity, the results from the proposed study can provide critical information for stakeholders who share the goal of supporting paramedic wellbeing.


Interested in participating?

If you are a paramedic working in Canada you can contact for a link to the survey


Research Team

Rachel Krakauer, a grad student at the University of Regina, Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, Professor at the University of Regina.

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