Medical rescuers’ occupational health during COVID-19: Contribution of coping and emotion regulation on burnout, trauma and post-traumatic growth

Sílvia Monteiro Fonseca, Sónia Cunha, Rui Campos, Sara Faria, Márcio Silva, M. Joaquina Ramos, Guilherme Azevedo, António Ruão Barbosa, Cristina Queirós


The COVID-19 pandemic places unique challenges to medical rescuers’ occupational health. Thus, it is crucial to assess its direct and indirect impacts on key psychological outcomes and adaptation strategies. This study aims to analyse the impact of this pandemic on medical rescuers’ coping and emotion regulation strategies, and their levels of work-related psychological outcomes, such as burnout, trauma and post-traumatic growth. Additionally, it aims to analyse the contribution of coping and emotion regulation strategies, employed to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, on burnout, trauma and post-traumatic growth. A sample of 111 medical rescuers answered the Brief Cope, Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, Impact of Event Scale-Revised and Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory. Medical rescuers resorted moderately to coping and emotion regulation strategies, since the beginning of COVID-19. They presented moderate burnout and post-traumatic growth and low trauma. Coping presented a higher weight on burnout, trauma and post-traumatic growth, than emotion regulation. Expressive suppression and dysfunctional coping predicted burnout and trauma, and problem and emotion-focused coping predicted post-traumatic growth. Dysfunctional coping mediated and, thus, exacerbated the effect of expressive suppression on burnout and on trauma. Practitioners should pay closer attention to professionals with higher burnout and trauma. Occupational practices should focus on reducing dysfunctional coping and expressive suppression and promoting problem-focused coping.


COVID-19, Occupational health, Medical rescuers, Coping strategies, Emotion regulation strategies.

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