General mental health under extreme stress and trauma

Occupational trauma and protective factors in the Emergency Medical Services

Research topics

This collaborative project with the German Red Cross Emergency Medical Services aims to investigate the relevance of job-related traumatic stressors and individual risk and resilience factors for the mental health and wellbeing of EMS professionals. With the project, we provide starting points for preventive measures as well as organizational improvements to reduce the psychological stress of employees and maintain their ability to work in the long term.
The project is carried out in cooperation with the Ulm University Psychotherapeutic University Outpatient Clinic (PHSA), Dr. Roberto Rojas, and the German Red Cross (DRK) EMS Heidenheim-Ulm gGmbH, David Richter.

Review articles

  • Behnke, A., Rojas, R., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2021). Stressbelastungen im Rettungsdienst: Widerstandsfähigkeit und Anfälligkeit für berufsbedingte Psychotraumata. NeuroTransmitter, 32(3), 36–41.
  • Behnke, A., Rojas, R., & Gärtner, A. (2021). Emotionsregulation im Rettungsdienst: Zusammenhänge mit beruflichem Stress, Belastungssymptomatik und Arbeitszufriedenheit von Beschäftigten im Rettungsdienst. Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung, 16(3), 188–192.
  • Karrasch, S., Hitzler, M., Behnke, A., Tumani, V., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2020). Chronic and traumatic stress among Emergency Medical Services personnel: A narrative review on vulnerability factors, resilience, and intervention. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 49(4), 204–217.

Other publications

  • Rojas, R., Hickmann, M., Wolff, S., Kolassa, I.-T., & Behnke, A. (2022). Coping in the Emergency Medical Services: Associations with the personnel’s stress, self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and health. Clinical Psychology in Europe, 4(1), e6133.
  • Behnke, A. (2021). Psychotraumatic Stress Among Emergency Medical Services Personnel: Its Psychological and Biological Correlates and Implications for Health Management (Doctoral Dissertation). Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.
  • Behnke, A., Karabatsiakis, A., Krumbholz, A., Karrasch, S., Schelling, G., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2020). Associating Emergency Medical Services personnel’s workload, trauma exposure, and health with the cortisol, endocannabinoid, and N-acylethanolamine concentrations in their hair. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 22403.
  • Behnke, A., Rojas, R., Karabatsiakis, A., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2020). Childhood maltreatment compromises resilience against occupational trauma exposure: A retrospective study among emergency medical service personnel. Child Abuse & Neglect, 99, 104248.
  • Behnke, A., Rojas, R., Karrasch, S., Hitzler, M., & Kolassa, I.-T. (2019). Deconstructing traumatic mission experiences: Identifying critical incidents and their relevance for the mental and physical health among emergency medical service personnel. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2305.
  • Behnke, A., Conrad, D., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2019). Higher sense of coherence is associated with better mental and physical health in emergency medical services: Results from investigations on the revised sense of coherence scale (SOC-R) in rescue workers. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1606628.
  • Gärtner, A., Behnke, A., Conrad, D., Kolassa, I.-T., & Rojas, R. (2019). Emotion regulation in rescue workers: Differential relationship with perceived work-related stress and stress-related symptoms. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 2744.