This study examined specific and general psychological distress 8.5 years following the 1992 cargo aircraft crash in Amsterdam. Participants included 334 occupationally exposed fire fighters and 834 occupationally exposed police officers compared with reference groups of 194 fire fighters and 634 police officers who were exposed to duty-related stressors other than the disaster. On the standardized instruments of psychological distress, exposed fire fighters reported more somatic complaints and fatigue, while exposed police officers reported higher psychological distress on all aspects. The degree and type of exposure at the disaster site and other background factors were associated with several outcomes of psychological distress levels of exposed rescue workers. The disasters' aftermath of rumors about potential health consequences due to toxic exposure likely contributed to the long-lasting psychological distress of some of the rescue workers as well.

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Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Witteveen, A., Bramsen, I., Twisk, J., Huizink, A., Slottje, P., Smid, T., & van der Ploeg, H. (2007). Psychological distress of rescue workers eight and one-half years after professional involvement in the Amsterdam air disaster. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(1), 31–40. doi:10.1097/01.nmd.0000252010.19753.19