Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of first responders. Academic Article uri icon


  • The present investigation evaluated the preliminary impact of COVID-19 exposure on first responder mental health. Data were collected between June and August 2020. The sample was comprised of 189 first responders (Mage = 47.58, SD = 10.93; 21% female), recruited nationally, who completed an online survey. Results indicated that COVID-19-exposed first responders were more likely to be emergency medical services [EMS] personnel (vs. non-EMS) in career (vs. volunteer) roles. COVID-19-exposed first responders reported higher alcohol use severity; no other between-group differences were noted. COVID-19-related worry and medical vulnerability were incrementally associated with more severe symptoms of anxiety and depression; only COVID-19-related worry was associated with alcohol use severity. Among the subset of first responders (n = 122) who reported COVID-19 exposure, COVID-19-related worry was significantly associated with PTSD symptom severity. Covariates included gender, trauma load, years as a first responder, and COVID-19 exposure. Clinical and policy implications as well as future directions will be discussed.

published proceedings

  • Cogn Behav Ther

altmetric score

  • 273.83

author list (cited authors)

  • Vujanovic, A. A., Lebeaut, A., & Leonard, S.

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Vujanovic, Anka A||Lebeaut, Antoine||Leonard, Samuel

publication date

  • July 2021