Date of Conferral







William B. Disch


According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (2007), 33% of workers who volunteer in one year do not volunteer the next year. Retention of disaster and emergency services volunteers is a problem because permanent disaster volunteers save governments and society millions of dollars each year. The purpose of this quantitative, cross-sectional study was to address the problem of retention of American Red Cross disaster and emergency services volunteers. The primary research question for this study examined the predictive strength of positive emotions, resiliency, coping, and post-traumatic growth, in the retention of disaster and emergency services volunteers. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions combined with the organismic valuing theory of growth through adversity created the optimal research foundation for driving the hypotheses for the research question. This study used a self-report survey to collect data from a nonprobability convenience sample of 120 American Red Cross Disaster and Emergency Services volunteers. Standard multiple linear regression analyses revealed that none of the independent variables statistically predicted retention. Independent-groups t-tests revealed that, a debriefing at the disaster location showed significant mean differences when examining retention. The American Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations can use the results of this study to develop strategies to address organizational factors that enhance the experiences of their disaster and emergency services volunteers and thus strive to improve retention.