Comparing Cognitive Performance, Mood and Emotion Regulation in Firefighters with and without PTSD

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.


Firefighters are among the first groups who deal with injuries from accidents. They are significantly at risk for disorders such as PTSD. This study aimed to compare the cognitive performance, mood and emotion regulation in firefighters with and without PTSD. This study, from July to October 2016, utilized a descriptive, causal-comparative approach and the statistical population consisted of all firefighters in Isfahan. The selection criterion in this study was work experience for one consecutive year. The sample included 40 firefighters with and without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) selected by a random cluster sampling. In so doing, 11 fire stations in Isfahan were randomly selected from 24 stations. The firefighters at each of these stations were divided into two groups; with PTSD and without PTSD, based on their answers to the Mississippi questionnaire. The measuring instruments were the Color Tracking Test, the London Tower test, subscales of the Wechsler memory test, Beck Depression Inventory, and Garnofsky’s Emotion Regulation questionnaires. The collected data were analyzed by SPSS 22 software by Mean Standard Deviation analysis, Shapiro-Wilk’s normality, and multivariate analysis of variance ANOVA tests. The results showed that there were significant differences between the scores of cognitive performance, mood and emotion regulation in firefighters with and without PTSD (p< .01). In addition, there were significant differences in firefighters, with and without PTSD (p< .01), between the scores of the time and error in first-try of attention, B and C levels of executive functions, digit span total score and forward digit span of working memory, mood and subscales of emotion regulation including positive re-evaluation, reaching a perspective and subjective rumination.


Main Subjects

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th. Ed.). Washington, DC: APA.
Alghamdi, M., Hunt, N., & Thomas Sh. (2015). The effectiveness of Narrative Exposure Therapy with traumatized firefighters in Saudi Arabia: A randomized controlled study. Behavior Research and Therapy, 66, 64-71.
Armstrong, D., Shakespeare-Finch, J., & Shochet, I. (2016). Organizational belongingness mediates the relationship between sources of stress and posttrauma outcomes in firefighters. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy8(3), 343.
Besharat, M. A., & Bazzazian, S. (2014). Psychometric properties of the cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire in a sample of Iranian population. Advances in Nursing & Midwifery, 24(84), 61-70.
Dietch, J. R., Ruggero, C. J., Schuler, K., Taylor, D. J., Luft, B. J., & Kotov, R. (2019). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and sleep in the daily lives of World Trade Center responders. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology24(6), 689.
Donnelly, E. A., Bradford, P., Davis, M., Hedges, C., & Klingel, M. (2016). Predictors of posttraumatic stress and preferred sources of social support among Canadian paramedics. Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine18(3), 205-212.
Duran, F., Bishopp, D., & Woodhams, J. (2019). Relationships between psychological contract violation, stress and well-being in firefighters. International Journal of Workplace Health Management12(3), 120-133.
Ghassemzadeh, H., Mojtabai, R., Karamghadiri, N., & Ebrahimkhani, N. (2005). Psychometric properties of a Persian-language version of the Beck Depression Inventory second edition: BDI-Persian. Depression and Anxiety, 21, 185-192.
Goudarzi, M. A. (2003). Evaluating validity and reliability of mississippi post traumatic stress disorder scale. Journal of Psychology, 153-178.
Green, L. (1991). Evaluation the effects of disasters. American Journal of Psychological Assessment, 41, 538-540.
Grupe, D. W., McGehee, C., Smith, C., Francis, A., Mumford, J. A., & Davidson, R. J. (2019). Mindfulness training reduces PTSD symptoms and other stress-related health outcomes in police officers. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 10.1007/s11896-019-09351-4.
Keane, T. M., Caddell, T. M., & Taylor, L. (1988). Mississippi scale for combay PTSD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(1), 85-90.
Lessan, S. h., Ghofranipour, F., Birashk, B., & Faghihzadeh, S. (2003). Application of PERCEDE model in reducing anxiety of Tehran firefighters. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, 9(2), 77-83.
Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., & Loring, D. W. (2004). Neuropsychological Assessment, 4th edition. New York, Oxford University Press.
Maguen, S., Metzler, T. J., McCaslin, S. E., Inslicht, S. S., Henn-Haase, C., Neylan, T. C., & Marmar, C. R. (2009). Routine work environment stress and PTSD symptoms in police officers. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease197(10), 754.
Mazloum, M., Yaghoubi, H., & Mohammadkhani, S. h. (2014). The relationship of metacognitive beliefs and emotion regulation difficulties with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 2(8), 105-113.
Mead, A. M. (2018). Proactive Stress Management for Firefighters. Antioch University, New England.
Moradi, A. R., Salimi, M., & Fathi Ashtiani, A. (2010). Memory performance among Iranian veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 4(4), 269-276.
Moslehi, M., Shahbazi, M., ArabAmeri, E., & Tahmasbi, S. (2019). Effect of Aerobic Exercises on Memory and Attention in Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Iranian Journal of War and Public Health, 44, 118-123.
Narimani, M., Ariapouran, S., Abolghasemi, S., & Ahadi, B. (2010). The Comparison of the Effectiveness of Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation Training on Mental Health in Chemical Weapon Victims. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 4(8), 61-72.
Narimani, M., Zahed, A., & Basharpour, S. (2008). Prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder in hospital emergency nurses and fire department worker in Uremia city. Journal of Research in Behavioral Sciences, 8(1), 69-74.
Noohi, S., Miraghaei, A. M., & Heidari, Z. (2015). The Effectiveness if neuro feedback on a person executive function in patient’s posttraumatic stress disorder in war. Thought & Behavior in Clinical Psychology, 9(33), 27-36.
Qasemzadeh, H., Mojtabaee, R., KaramGhadiri, N., & EbrahimKhani, N. (2005). Psychometric properties of a persion language version of the beck depression inventory. 2end ed: BDI-II. Journal of Depression and Anxiety, 21, 185-192.
Rajabi, M., Roshan, R., Jamilian, & H. R. (2012). The comparison of anger and sense of guilt in individuals with major depression disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder with the normal people. Clinical Psychology & Personality, 19(7), 43-52.
Rodrigues, S., Paiva, J. S., Dias, D., & Cunha, J. P. S. (2018). Stress among on-duty firefighters: an ambulatory assessment study. PeerJ6, e5967.
Saed, O., Roshan, R., & Moradi, A. R. (2008). Psychometric Properties of Wechsler Memory Scale-Third Edition for the Students of Tehran Universities. Scientific-Research Journal of Shahed University, 1(31), 57-70.
Sahragard, M., Alipour, A., Zare, H., Roshan, R., & Movadi, M. (2018). Effectiveness of Powell's Cognitive Rehabilitation with Neurofeedback in Improving Executive Functions, Memory, and Attention to Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Iranian Journal of War and Public Health, 10(4), 187-193.
Sajio, Y., Ueno, T., & Hashimoto, Y. (2012). Post-traumatic stress disorder and job stress among firefighters of urban Japan. Journal of Perhaps Disaster Med, 27(1), 59-63.
Samimi, Z., Hassani, J. (2015). The Effectiveness of Emotional Working Memory Training in Cognitive Emotion Regulation Strategies of Adolescents with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Clinical Psychology Studies, 6(23), 113-132.
San, X., Li, X., Huang, J., & An, Y., (2020). Prevalence and predictors of PTSD, depression and posttraumatic growth among Chinese firefighters. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 34, 14-18.
Seligowski, A. V., Lee, D. J., Bardeen, J. R., & Orcutt, H. K. (2015). Emotion regulation and posttraumatic stress symptoms: a meta-analysis. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 44(2), 87-102.
Smith, B., Ortiz, J., Steffen, L., Tooley, E., Wiggins, K., Yeater, E., Montoya, J., & Bernard, M. (2011). Mindfulness is associated with fewer PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and alcohol problems in urban firefighters. Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology, 79(5), 613-617.
Sun, X., Li, X., Huang, J., & An, Y., (2020). Prevalence and predictors of PTSD, depression and posttraumatic growth among Chinese firefighters. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 34(1). 14-18.
Taheri, F., Moradi, A. R., AzadFallah, P., Mirzaei, J., Alizadeh, R., & Namegh, M. (2011). Ability of retrieval specific memory materials from autobiographical memory among PTSD veteran’s young children. Advances in Cognitive Science, 13(1), 51-66.
Tavakoli, M., Barekatain, M., & Emsaki, G. (2015). An Iranian normative sample of the color trails test. Psychology & Neuroscience, 8(1), 75-81.
Touzandejani, H. A. (2008). Comparison of selective processing of data on the threat in patients with released anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Knowledge & Research in Psychology, 35, 15-32.
Tull, M. T., Barrett, H. M., McMillan, E. S., & Roemer, L. (2007). A preliminary investigation of the relationship between emotion regulation difficulties and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Behavior Therapy, 38(3), 303-313.
Violanti, J. M., Ma, C. C., Mnatsakanova, A., Fekedulegn, D., Hartley, T. A., Gu, J. K., & Andrew, M. E. (2018). Associations between Police Work Stressors and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: Examining the Moderating Effects of Coping. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology33(3), 271-282.