Emergency Communications: A Quantitative Survey on Emotional Labor

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Rowe, Katherine L
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Middle Tennessee State University
Both working as a 9-1-1 dispatcher and examining research on emergency communications personnel reveals high levels of emotional labor and associated stress, mental health issues including depression and anxiety, and positive and negative coping mechanisms among these workers. These also have implications for job satisfaction. Using completed survey data from over 550 9-1-1-dispatchers/emergency communication workers across the United States, I examine emotions at work and away from work, levels of emotional labor, and stress along with job satisfaction, mental health indicators, and coping mechanisms. I found that levels of emotional labor are very high among all groups, to the point of almost no variation. As a result, the emotional labor scale was not significant predictor of job satisfaction, but separate scales measuring surface and deep acting were significant. Results point to interesting patterns of variation in types/levels of job satisfaction, emotions at/away from work, mental health indicators, and coping mechanisms. Implications for training and policy are discussed.
Sociology, Social research, Communication