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“Running in the Rain”: Exploring Psychological Resilience and Trauma Management in Challenging, and Potentially Traumatic, Environments

Eaton, Steven (2024) “Running in the Rain”: Exploring Psychological Resilience and Trauma Management in Challenging, and Potentially Traumatic, Environments. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

The purpose of this thesis was to explore the experiences of people that operate in challenging, potentially traumatic, environments, and offer an informed opinion as to whether the trauma management model known as ‘TRiM’ provides an effective approach to support a wider community of risk facing roles and professions (e.g., medical professionals, lawyers, fire and rescue service personnel). Three empirical studies were designed, conducted, and analysed using a mixed methodology approach to investigate the experiences of those that choose to put themselves in potential harm’s way for the benefit of others and to test TRiM’s suitability for use outside the UK military, which the model was originally designed for. Each study aimed to build on the findings of the previous study in order to provide consistency and relevance.

To begin the research, Study 1, covered in Chapter 2, aimed to investigate the experiences of individuals (n = 7) that worked, or had worked, in a variety of psychologically and / or physically challenging environments with a commonality that each of them had suffered some form of potentially traumatic experience during their role or profession. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore how they made sense of and managed their experiences (Aim 1 of the thesis). The findings of Study 1 revealed that those that faired best following their potentially traumatic experience (PTE) were the participants that had suitable resources at hand and, as such, felt prepared for working in challenging environments, utilising the necessary skills and knowledge associated with operating with related risk of potential physical and / or psychological harm.

Study 2, covered in Chapter 3, was a longitudinal, quantitative study that had two key aims; firstly, to gauge the benefits of implementing a TRiM programme within a division of UK’s Fire and Rescue Services (n = 44) (Aim 2 of the thesis) and secondly to provide comparative data between a group that had received TRiM training vs. a control group (Aim 3). The study, involving Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, employed a series of on-line questionnaires measuring stress, resilience, general wellbeing, social support and presenteeism, at four specific time points over a twelve-month period. The findings indicated no significant changes in any variable over time.

Study 3, covered in Chapter 4, involved a series of focus group discussions with experienced TRiM specialists (n = 11) who offered informed knowledge and experience to help further deliberate the perceived efficacy of TRiM across ‘real-world’ settings (Aim 4 of the thesis). The results of study 3 highlighted the perceived benefits and drawbacks with TRiM but most importantly provided informed data on considerations for implementing biopsychosocial support, such as TRiM, most effectively in risk facing organisations or professions.

In summary, through using a mixed-methodology approach, this thesis offers an original and significant contribution to the field of applied performance psychology by increasing the knowledge and understanding of biopsychosocial support as well as providing evidenced based recommendations for the successful implementation of non-clinical interventions, such as TRiM, for risk facing individuals and organisations, in order for them to perform effectively in challenging and potentially traumatic environments. Importantly, this thesis also highlights a number of areas or ideas for future research to further increase understanding of this complex and political field, such as alternative methods of data collection involving other qualifying organisations or populations that may provide greater flexibility, numbers and experiences for study.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2024 11:46
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 11:48

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