Depression among firefighters linked to insomnia, nightmares
Insomnia and nightmares may induce depression by limiting the ability to access emotion regulation strategies, such as problem-solving skills and facility to decrease negative emotions, according to a US cohort study.
The study included 880 firefighters who completed a web-based survey of behavioural health, assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Insomnia Severity Index, PTSD Checklist, and Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale.
The respondents reported depression symptoms (39.6 percent), insomnia (52.7 percent) and nightmare problems (19.2). The symptoms were strongly associated with emotion regulation difficulties, which mediated the association between depression and insomnia. The findings indicate that the link between depression and insomnia and nightmares occurs through explicit emotion regulation difficulties. Sleep disturbances may impair the ability to leverage emotion regulation strategies effectively, increasing risk for negative affect and depression.
Researchers said there is a need for greater efforts to prevent and treat behavioural problems among firefighters considering their difficult work schedules and traumatic experiences.