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Individual and organizational factors associated with professional quality of life in Florida fire personnel

Anastasia Miller, PhD, Lynn Unruh, PhD, RN, LHRM, Tracy Wharton, PhD, MEd, MSc, MSW, LCSW, Xinliang Liu, PhD, Ning Zhang, PhD, MD, MPH


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine a baseline level of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress (STS) in firefighters, as well as to examine how these constructs related to perceived organizational support, perceived coworker support, psychological resilience, and debriefing in the fire personnel.

Design: This was done through a voluntary nonrandom, cross-sectional administration of surveys.

Setting: The study was carried out in the state of Florida.

Subjects, Participants: Surveys were e-mailed out to state firefighters. Two hundred seventy surveys were completed by active firefighting personnel across the state.

Main Outcome Measure(s): The Professional Quality of Life: Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatigue Version 5 was also sent to establish self-reported levels of compassion satisfaction, burnout, and STS. The Survey of Perceived Organizational Support, Perceived Organizational Support Survey, and the Brief Resilience Survey were also used in addition to questions regarding debriefing activities.

Results: Gender, race, and education levels were significantly related to compassion satisfaction in the regression analysis. Organizational support was associated with higher compassion satisfaction as well as lower burnout and STS. Coworker support was associated with higher compassion satisfaction. Psychological resilience was positively associated with higher levels of compassion satisfaction and lower burnout and STS. Those who participated in informal debriefing methods had higher compassion satisfaction as well as lower burnout. Firefighters working at agencies that did not provide mental health professional’s services had lower compassion satisfaction.

Conclusions: Fire agencies have multiple avenues and policy options to improve the professional quality of life for firefighters.


compassion satisfaction, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, perceived organizational support, perceived coworker support, ProQOL 5, psychological resilience, debriefing

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