Exposure to trauma: The long-term effects of suppressing emotional reactions

Colin A. Wastell*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    A cross-sectional study of 437 ambulance officers in a large state of Australia examined the long-term effects of suppressing emotion reactions to exposure to trauma. Results indicate that the use of emotion-suppressing defenses (e.g., withdrawal or acting out) have a highly significant positive relationship with physical and psychological stress symptoms. Alexithymia scores were also positively associated with stress symptoms. In addition, there was a positive association between years of ambulance service and stress symptoms. Implications of the findings are discussed for recovery from exposure to trauma of emergency services personnel and more generally to the experience of survivors of trauma.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)839-845
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


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