Traumatic Stress and Resilience for Workers in Hazardous Occupations and Disaster Relief Operations

This programmatic focus will bridge the research aims and methodologies of various disciplines addressing occupational stress and work organization with traumatic stress and resilience for workers in hazardous occupations. Research is needed to identify key constructs to assess risk and protective factors (e.g., education and training) and processes (e.g., resiliency) associated with traumatic exposure in the workplace and adaptive recovery. Faulty decision-making under duress and inadequate safety culture in hazardous circumstances can have an escalating impact and lead to excess occupational morbidity and mortality.

Work settings where this is particularly relevant include:

  • emergency and disaster response, recovery, and remediation;

  • mining;

  • agricultural, forestry, and fishing;

  • construction; transport;

  • emergency rescue and response; and

  • challenges reintegrating recent war veterans into civilian work life.

The terms "traumatic stress" and "resilience" ought to be captured and approached from a broad workplace organizational perspective and applied to specific hazardous environments. As such, the approach needs to incorporate the preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery into framing research questions and interventional strategies for traumatic events.

Sample relevant topics:

  1. Evidence basis for interventions after traumatic events

  2. Assessment of critical incident stress (recommendations within military or civilian work life)

  3. Reintegration of Iraqi/Afghanistan war veterans to civilian work life (e.g., traumatic stress disorders, traumatic brain injury)

  4. Katrina experiences

  5. Mine rescue lessons