Occupational exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder: a rapid review

Publication type
Journal article
Van Eerd D, Irvin E, Harbin S, Mahood Q, Tiong M
Date published
2021 Feb 01
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can result from occupational exposures and poses a considerable burden to workers, their families, workplaces and to society in general. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to conduct a rapid review of the literature to answer the question: "Which occupations have exposures that may lead to a PTSD diagnosis?" METHODS: A rapid review was conducted in six steps: review question development, literature search, study selection (inclusion/exclusion), study characterization, data extraction, and data synthesis. RESULTS: The search identified 3428 unique references which were reviewed to find 16 relevant studies in 23 articles. The articles revealed associations between PTSD and rescue workers (police, firefighters, etc.), health care professionals, transit drivers, and bank employees which seem well supported by the literature. Some studies also suggest potential associations with PTSD and construction and extraction, electricians, manufacturing, installation, maintenance and repair, transportation and material moving, and clerical workers. CONCLUSIONS: A rapid review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature of PTSD prevalence or treatment suggests many occupations have exposures that could be associated with PTSD. Occupational traumatic events were most often associated with PTSD diagnosis. More research is needed to better understand the association between occupation and PTSD