Social Support Outside the Workplace, Coping Styles, and Burnout in a Cohort of EMS Providers From Minnesota

Lori L. Boland, Pamela J. Mink, Jonathan W. Kamrud, Jessica N. Jeruzal, Andrew C. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Occupational burnout has been linked to the delivery of lower quality of care in some health care professions, including with turnover intentions and absenteeism in emergency medical services (EMS) workers. Thus, studies that identify factors associated with burnout may be integral to optimizing quality and workforce engagement among EMS professionals. A survey was conducted to assess social support outside the workplace, coping styles, and occupational burnout in a cohort of EMS providers from Minnesota. Surveys were returned by 217 providers (54% response), of which 167 had provided data on burnout, social support, and coping styles and were included in the analysis. The mean age was 41 years, 62% were male, and the prevalence of burnout was 17%. After adjustment for age and EMS tenure, the odds of burnout was higher among those characterized as socially isolated as compared with providers who were integrated socially or moderately integrated (odds ratio = 3.52; 95% confidence interval = [1.13, 10.98]). Common coping responses included planning, positive reframing, and active coping, while behavioral disengagement and denial were rarely used. Lack of social networks outside the workplace and frequent use of self-blame, food, or substance use as coping strategies were associated with burnout. Conversely, social integration and use of religion and instrumental support to cope with stressors were associated with reduced burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-422
Number of pages9
JournalWorkplace Health and Safety
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the employees of Allina Health EMS for their participation in the survey. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • burnout
  • coping style
  • emergency medical services
  • paramedic
  • social support


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