The effect of factors in the work environment on the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms after experiencing traumatic stress.
OBJECTIVES: This is a cross sectional study aiming to focus on the association between experiencing traumatic stressors and developing posttraumatic symptoms. The main target of the study is to assess how factors in the work environment, like social support at work and social environment at work, can influence the development of posttraumatic symptoms after experiencing traumatic stress.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A questionnaire consisting of questions about health was distributed to all employees in the Norwegian Armed Forces. The questionnaire included ratings of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS-10), social support and social environment at work.
RESULTS: A strong dose/response relationship between the grade of traumatic stress experienced and the prevalence of post traumatic stress symptoms was found. Both social support at work and social environment at work were found to have a moderating effect on the occurrence of posttraumatic symptoms after experiencing traumatic stress. Social support was found to have a more important effect than social environment. Support from the closest supervisor was found to be more important than support from colleagues. CONCLUSIONS: This study substantiates the importance of supporting factors in the work environment as moderators to reduce the development of posttraumatic symptoms, especially in an organisation with a high level of traumatic stress.