Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Leonardo M. Marmol
Kathleen A. Gathercoal
The occupational stress of the firefighter has received much attention over the last two decades in a variety of professional articles and studies. Elevated levels of stress may facilitate the onset of occupational burnout within this public service. The emotional exhaustion component of Maslach's burnout theory, which can be conceptualized as the first stage of burnout, will be specifically addressed in this study. The subjects were 81 firefighters from a large urban fire department, with a range in age, years of service, marital status, and ethnicity. A Pearson product-moment correlation was conducted to ascertain correlations between personality traits as noted on the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) and the experience of occupational burnout as assessed by the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). It was hypothesized that several of the assessed personality traits would be positively correlated with the Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization, and Personal Accomplishment factors. The data show that a total of five of the nine PAI scales composing the first hypothesis were significantly correlated with the Emotional Exhaustion trait. The correlated scales were Somatic Complaints, Anxiety, Anxiety-Related Disorders, Depression, Stress, and Nonsupport. A total of three of the nine PAl scales composing the second hypothesis were significantly correlated with the Depersonalization component. The correlated scales were Somatic Complaints, Anxiety, and Anxiety-Related Disorders. A total of four of the nine PAI scales composing the third hypothesis were significantly correlated with the Personal Accomplishment scale. The correlated scales were Somatic Complaints, Anxiety-Related Disorders, Depression, and Stress. The importance of this study can be noted as correlations between personality factors and the experience of the individual components of occupational stress within the firefighting community have been found.
McCall, Jeffrey P., "A Correlational Study of Firefighter Personality Traits and Emotional Exhaustion" (2001). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 150.