Experiences of families of public safety personnel: a systematic review protocol of qualitative evidence

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Leroux, Janette
Richmond, Rachel
Fitzpatrick, Sara
Kirkland, Hannah
Norris, Deborah
Mahar, Alyson
MacDermid, Joy
Dekel, Rachel
Cramm, Heidi
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Abstract Background Public safety occupations are well-recognized to be dangerous and stressful. Despite recent attention on post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety personnel, there has been considerably less attention paid to the ongoing ways in which the risks and requirements associated with those occupations shape family life, and how families respond and adapt to those lifestyle dimensions. This systematic review aims to understand how day-to-day family life is affected and shaped when a family member works in a public safety sector, such as fire, police, paramedic, corrections, and emergency communications. Methods Qualitative studies that examine the experiences of families or family members of public safety personnel will be included in this review, with no date or language restrictions. An initial search of Embase and CINAHL will be conducted, followed by an analysis of text words contained in the title and abstract, and of the index terms used to describe the articles. Databases to be searched for published studies include MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Sciences, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Sociological Abstracts. Titles and abstracts will be screened by two independent reviewers. The full texts of selected studies will be assessed in detail, and findings and their illustrations will be extracted and aggregated. Any disagreements between the reviewers that arise at each stage will be resolved through discussion, or by a third reviewer. Further analysis of the synthesized findings will be informed by family systems theory. Discussion The ways that occupational risks and requirements shape family life have been better investigated within other high-risk occupation groups, which has led to productive advancements in organizational policies and supports in the respective sectors. An understanding of the experiences which typify family life ongoing within PSP sectors is a critical gap in the development of meaningful family-informed occupational initiatives and supports. Systematic review registration Submitted to PROSPERO for systematic review registration: CRD42020208126
Systematic Reviews. 2021 Sep 27;10(1):258