JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sleep and Mental Health among Paramedics from Australia and Saudi Arabia: A Comparison Study

Wahaj Anwar A Khan, Russell Conduit, Gerard A Kennedy, Ahmed Abdullah Alslamah, Mohammad Ahmad Alsuwayeh, Melinda L Jackson
Clocks & Sleep 2020, 2 (2): 246-257
33089203
Paramedics face many challenges while on duty, one of which is working different types of shifts. Shift work has been linked to a number of health issues such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Besides shift work, Saudi paramedics, a group that has not been investigated for sleep or mental health issues previously, may be facing more demands than Australian paramedics due to lower numbers of paramedics in comparison to the general population. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of sleep and mental health disorders among paramedics in Saudi Arabia and Australia. Paramedics were invited to complete a survey to assess stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, daytime sleepiness, insomnia, sleep quality, shift work disorder, obstructive sleep apnoea, fatigue, and general health. A total of 104 males Saudi paramedics ( M age = 32.5 ± 6.1 years) and 83 males paramedics from Australia ( M age = 44.1 ± 12.1 years) responded to the survey. Significantly higher rates of depression, PTSD, insomnia, and fatigue, along with significantly poorer physical functioning were observed among Saudi paramedics in comparison with Australian paramedics. However, Australian paramedics reported significantly poorer sleep quality and general health in comparison to Saudi paramedics. After removing the effect of driving and working durations, outcomes were no longer significant. The higher burden of depression and PTSD among Saudi paramedics may be explained by longer hours spent driving and longer work durations reported by this group. Taking into consideration the outcomes reported in this study, more investigations are needed to study their possible effects on paramedics' cognition, performance, and safety.

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