Science & Research

There is extremely limited current research on rates of PTSD and other psychological impacts of the work on Canadian Police and Emergency Service Professionals.

Existing research often reports differing rates for PTSD and other issues, depending on factors like the organization being studied, and measures used.

The research cited here is gives a good idea of the current challenges for emergency responders.  If you know of another study or report you think may be relevant please do contact me, and I will reference it here.

ambulance, ems, fire trucks


Police are at greater risk for Depression (Police 21%, Population 4%) (Gershon et al 2009)
11% of police report suicidal thoughts as a result of the job (Marshall, 2003)
7-9% of police suffer PTSD (Marmar et al, 2006)
33% suffer partial PTSD (Gershon et al , 2009)
74% of police have recurring memories of police incident (Marshall, 2003)
62% have recurring images  (Marshall, 2003)
54% actively avoid reminders of an incident (Marshall, 2003)
54% of police reports often feeling physically, emotionally, or spiritually depleted (Gershon et al, 2009)
82% believe the world is unsafe (Marshall, 2003)
88% developed new prejudices on the job (Marshall, 2003)
53% report a change in spiritual beliefs after entering the profession (Marshall, 2003)
88% report work affecting their family (Esposito, 1989)
92% of police no longer trust others (Marshall, 2003)

John Violanti (2003, 2006) a lead police researcher has found police work has harmful effects on:
Cardio-vascular system
Endocrine system 

He also noted police have increased rates of:
Somatic complaints           Domestic Violence           Marital Discord
Alcohol abuse (25%)          Absenteeism


Different studies reporting rates of PTSD between 7 – 30%
1995 study of Toronto Fire reported rate of 16.5% for PTSD
78% of firefighters reported exposure to a critical event
40% of firefighters indicated that they experienced emotional distress as a consequence of exposure to traumatic events on the job
22.5% of firefighters reported depressive symptoms (Regehr, Hill & Glancy, 2000)


2005 study of 617 paramedics showed up to 22% will develop PTSD (Bennett, Williams, Page, Hood, Woollard, & Vetter, 2005)
Almost half (45.8%) of the paramedics indicated ongoing troubling memories
Almost two-thirds of paramedics (62.4%) reported they were troubled by memories of trauma in the past
2010 study shows only 30% of paramedics reported sleeping well (Courtney, Francis, & Paxton, 2010)