Fighting wildland fire is a physically demanding occupation. Wildland firefighters need to be physically fit to work safely and productively. To determine whether personnel are fit for duty, many firefighting agencies employ physical competency tests, such as the pack hike test (PHT). The PHT involves a 4.83-km hike over level terrain carrying a 20.4-kg pack within a 45-min period. The PHT was devised to test the job readiness of US wildland firefighters but is also currently used by some fire agencies in Australia and Canada. This review discusses the history and development of the PHT with emphasis on the process of test validation. Research-based training advice for the PHT is given, as well as discussion of the risks associated with completing the PHT. Different versions and modifications to the PHT have emerged in recent years and these are discussed with regard to their validity. Finally, this review addresses the relevance and validity of the PHT for Australian and Canadian wildland firefighters. Statement of Relevance: This paper reviews the history, development and validity of the PHT, an internationally recognised and utilised wildland firefighter work capacity test. It is concluded that while the PHT has general content validity for US wildland firefighters, verification of its reliability, criterion and construct validity is still needed.
A partial latent structural regression analysis was used to evaluate the influence of perceived stress and coping resources on depression following acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in a sample of 113 participants (25 females and 88 males with a mean age of 57.61 years (SD = 12.63). Out of them, 55 participants were Australian born and 48 were born elsewhere, with 53 of the patients scoring in the mild to high depression range on the Beck Depression Inventory and the Cardiac Depression Scale. Perceived stress and coping resources, after controlling for age and smoking explained 89% of the variance in the latent variable depression. Higher perceived stress levels and fewer coping resources predicted higher levels of depression. Higher levels of perceived stress predicted fewer coping resources and fewer coping resources predicted higher levels of depression. There was a significant direct and indirect effect of perceived stress through coping on depression. Cognitive and physical coping resources were the best predictors of the depression construct. These results have potential implications for the treatment of depression post-ACS. In particular, cognitive and physical coping mechanisms and perceived stress reduction need to be addressed when treating depression post-ACS.