Health promotion, policy and practice
Exposure to chronic stress in health responders: features of collective resilience, social identity and group supportDr Chris Cocking was recently awarded an internal SNM research grant to explore the role of mutual social support in shielding people from work-related stress. More specifically he will focus on the experiences of healthcare workers who may be exposed to chronic stressors in their work when dealing with major trauma incidents. Existing work that Chris has done into exposure to traumatic incidents (such as mass emergencies, terrorist attacks, etc.) has found that people can often endure stressful events better than expected, and that collective resilience (rather than vulnerability) can often emerge from those affected, because they develop a sense of shared identity which encourages co-operation. However, less is known about those who may be exposed to chronic stress (as opposed to one-off incidents), and so Chris' research proposes to fill this gap in the knowledge.
Chris plans to conduct interviews with staff who work in the local Major Trauma Centre at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust to explore their experiences of occupational stress, mutual social support and collective resilience to stress and trauma. He hopes that this study will create greater understanding about the impact of and processes involved in collective resilience and inspire further research into occupational stress and resilience in general.
ReferencesCocking, C (in press for June 2013) Collective resilience versus collective vulnerability after disasters- a Social Psychological perspective. In R. Arora (ed.) Disaster Management: A Medical Perspective.
Drury, J., Cocking, C., and Reicher, S. (2009) Everyone for themselves? Understanding how crowd solidarity can arise in an emergency: An interview study of disaster survivors. British Journal of Social Psychology 48.
Drury, J., Cocking, C., and Reicher, S. (2009) The nature of collective 'resilience': Survivor reactions to the July 7th (2005) London bombings. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 27 (1) 66-95.