Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Benerd School of Education

First Advisor

Rachel Hallquist, Ed.D.

First Committee Member

Laura Hallberg, Ed.D.

Second Committee Member

Linda Webster, Ph.D.


The nature of the work of emergency responders (i.e., firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics, and dispatch) includes high stress and direct experiences of traumatic situations. The experience of posttraumatic stress is common. The spouse or significant other is often the first person to see a change in their responder and the person most likely to be sought out for support from the responder, yet there is little support for the spouses or significant others of emergency workers. The purpose of this qualitative study using in-depth interviews and narrative inquiry was to learn about participants’ experiences at the 6-day residential treatment (retreat) for significant others and spouses of first responders, the latter of whom were diagnosed with posttraumatic stress. This research identified ways the retreat promoted personal transformation for participants, how change theory contributed to participants’ personal transformation, and how participants perceived the impact this personal transformation has on their family and perhaps their community. Evidence of Spouses of Emergency Workers program efficacy could increase funding sources and support program replication across the country to provide treatment support for significant others and spouses of first responders.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).