Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

William Boozang, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Belle B. Booker-Zorigian, Ph.D.


Firefighters experience a variety of challenging situations and traumatic events while performing necessary job duties as public servants, which can create behavioral health concerns and even suicide ideation. The purpose of this study is to recognize how individual resilience relates to lived experiences for firefighters who may need next-level behavioral healthcare, which in turn, will identify higher “at risk” firefighters with suicide ideation who need increased mental and emotional care outside of peer interventions. The fundamental question centers on what role does individual resilience, as well as formal and informal resources of behavioral health support, play in mitigating the impact of traumatic events? This study utilized qualitative research, specifically Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, to identify how firefighters make meaning of resilience as it relates to lived experiences associated as a firefighter. Through direct observation interviews, analysis of the recorded data, descriptive, linguistic, and conceptual coding associations, and data-driven results, firefighters will provide the essence of their experiences in relation to individual resilience, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and suicide ideation while filling gaps in already conducted research within the fire service. Six themes emerged that will foster cultural change for firefighter behavioral health initiatives such as a tiered support plan, educative initiatives, intentional leadership actions, communicative resources, normalizing the symptomatic response as much as the event, and the need for a caring community for firefighters. Limitations of research design entail time constraints for a longitudinal study.