School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Stephen Ford


first responder (FR), high-risk population, depression, anxiety, substance use, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), resilience


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Too often, the title first responder (FR) has been correlated with mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, substance use, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There was a need to address the mental health of this unique at-risk population prior to developing a mindset that being a FR translates into also suffering from mental illness, due to repeated exposure to traumatic situations. The purpose of this correlational study was to identify the resilience factors in FRs, what unique and untreated exposure to traumatic events looks like in FRs, what normal treatment and early interventions for mental illnesses in FRs is, the resilience factors that reduce symptomology for this population, and finally, the research question of what resilience factors serve to protect the mental health of FRs. The gap in the literature was addressed, as very little, if any, research provided why some FRs have resilience factors that have served as a buffer to developing mental illnesses throughout their careers and if those resilience factors can be trained to incoming FRs. The theory guiding this study was to identify resilience factors present in FRs who have served in their specific role for at least 10 years and have not received a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, substance use, or PTSD. A correlational design with regression analysis was used to measure the dependent variables of depression, anxiety, substance use, and PTSD. The 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) was used to measure the independent variable of resilience factors. The findings of the regression analysis were addressed, along with providing conclusions for this study and recommendations for future research.

Included in

Counseling Commons