This is the first paper on suicidal ideation and attempts among ambulance personnel. This study aimed to investigate levels of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among ambulance personnel, and to identify important correlates and the factors to which ambulance personnel attribute their serious suicidal ideation. A comprehensive nationwide questionnaire survey of 1,180 operational ambulance personnel was conducted. Measurements included: Paykel's Suicidal Feelings in the General Population questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, the Subjective Health Complaints Questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the Job Satisfaction Scale, the Basic Character Inventory, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Lifetime prevalence ranged from 28% for feelings that life was not worth living to 10.4% for seriously considered suicide and 3.1% for a suicide attempt. Serious suicidal ideation was independently associated with job-related emotional exhaustion (feelings of being overextended and depleted of resources) (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1-2.0) and bullying at work (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.02-2.7), younger age, not married/cohabitant, depression symptoms, low self-esteem and the personality trait reality weakness. In general, suicidal thoughts were hardly attributable to working conditions, since only 1.8% of ambulance personnel attributed suicidal ideation to work problems alone. In conclusion, ambulance personnel reported a moderate level of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Although serious suicidal ideation was rarely attributed to working conditions in general, this study suggests that job-related factors like emotional exhaustion and bullying may be of importance.
2008 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health