Impact of ethnicity on Paramedic perceived work-related stress and coping strategies adopted before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mohammed Jameel Al Barbari, Padarath Gangaram, Gary Kenward, Hmoud Alolimat, James Laughton, Guillaume Alinier

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Background: People respond to stressful situations differently based on their ethnicity. 1 This study explored the impact of ethnicity on coping strategies used to deal with work-related stress among Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service (HMCAS) paramedics in Qatar before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on the associated work conducted by the same team. 2,3 Methods: An online survey combining validated tools with additional demographic questions was sent to all HMCAS paramedics (n = 1,100) between January and May 2021. The survey collected demographic information and data regarding the coping strategies they used before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: 274 valid responses were received and categorized into 5 ethnic groups. For statistical analysis purposes, only the three main groups with a sufficient number of participants could be considered; Arabian (n = 151), South Asian (n = 45), and Southeast Asian (n = 60) (Total n = 256). The other ethnic groups were represented by too few participants. Overall, stress levels were higher for all ethnicities during the pandemic compared to before (Table 1). However, stress levels were lower in the Southeast Asian subgroup before and during the pandemic as compared to South Asian and Arabian counterparts (Table 1). The usual coping strategies such as visiting the cinema, spending time with friends, and playing team sports decreased for all study subgroups during the pandemic (Table 2); likely due to restrictions imposed to control the pandemic. The practice of religious rituals as a coping strategy showed a significant decrease in the South Asian and Southeast Asian subgroups during the pandemic. Although not statistically significant, subgroup Arabian staff have reported smoking more cigarettes or shisha as a coping strategy during the pandemic and consumed more alcohol or recreational drugs than the other two groups. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that ethnicity has impacted the perceived work-related stress. Further, the coping strategies among the various ethnic groups also differed. Additional studies with larger sample sizes and in different settings are important to inform policy design related to work stress potentially considering staff ethnicity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine, Trauma and Acute Care
Issue number1
Early online date7 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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