Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chairperson

Michael Gawrrysiak, Ph.D

Committee Member

Philip Blankenship, Ph.D

Committee Member

Jodi McKibben, Ph.D


Background: Trauma is common among first responders and is often associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, limited research has been conducted to assess differences among first responder subgroups in terms of PTSD symptomology and professional quality of life. The present study examined these differences and explored the consequences of first-responder trauma exposure.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to anonymously collect data from first responder participants to examine differences among these first responder subgroups (i.e., paramedics, firefighters, and dual-role) and to investigate the associations between PTSD symptoms, first responder role, and professional quality of life. It was hypothesized that first-responder role would influence PTSD symptoms and that there would be differences by role on the professional quality of life subscales dependent on whether the subscale was considered a strength or a vulnerability. Additionally, it was hypothesized that PTSD symptoms and professional quality of life would be associated with one another based on the subscale.

Results: Findings suggest that the influence that first-responder role has on PTSD symptoms is not apparent until professional quality of life is controlled for. Additionally, findings suggest that

there is an association between PTSD symptoms and professional quality of life for first responders.

Discussion: The results presented in this study add to the literature by underscoring the need to examine the specific first responder subgroups. This study further highlights the need for role-specific research to create more effective interventions and resources for first responders.

Available for download on Saturday, April 24, 2027

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