Exploring the nature of trauma and coping strategies experienced by male emergency service personnel at the Vosloorus service centre

Poopedi, Maphuti
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Psychological trauma is prevalent amongst emergency service personnel as the first line of response to critical life-threatening incidents. Due to the high level of accidents and demand for medical assistance within the South African society, emergency service personnel are often the first in line to attend to critical incidents. The research conducted explored routine trauma experienced by male emergency service personnel while on duty at the Vosloorus service centre. The research approach was qualitative and exploratory-descriptive in nature utilising case study as the research design. Purposive sampling was used to select 20 male participants. The male participants interviewed had been employed as emergency service personnel for more than a year by the Ekurhuleni municipality. The research data were collected by means of a semi-structured interview schedule and analysed through thematic content analysis. The findings revealed that emergency service personnel experience challenging calls on duty as a result of the distressing incidents in the line of duty. Emergency service personnel employ various coping strategies as a result of traumatic scenes they are exposed to. These stressors result in various coping strategies being utilised ranging from repression, emotional numbing, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise as well as emotional resilience. The research has the potential of enhancing knowledge and understanding of trauma within an occupational setting as well as to suggest improvements to relevant support structures within Ekurhuleni Municipality
A research report on a study presented to The Department of Social Work, Faculty of Humanities, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Social Work in the field of Occupational Social Work, 2020