The Impact of COVID-19 on First Responders' Resilience and Attachment

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Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment


COVID-19 continues to have a deleterious impact on vulnerable populations in our society, and unfortunately, first responders are often overlooked in this conversation. To address that gap, we retrospectively compared routinely collected baseline assessment data from 69 treatment-seeking first responders who presented for treatment before COVID-19 to data collected from 75 similar first responders at the same agency during the pandemic. Data assessments gauged first responders’ attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, resilience, depression, generalized anxiety, PTSD, and suicidality. Findings indicate that the strength of correlations between resilience, depression, generalized anxiety, and PTSD increased for these responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. They further highlight the role that attachment anxiety plays for first responder ability to cope during the pandemic. Practitioners can use these findings to create a conversation early in the treatment process and guide a collaborative treatment plan.



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