Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mark Stallo


Military personnel and first responders operate in complex operational environments, and must be able to perform under physical, psychological, and emotional stress. Research suggests that resiliency assuages stress and improves the performance of military personnel and first responders. However, there are no studies examining the effects of resiliency on military first responders in training. The purpose of this research was to determine whether the dispositional hardiness traits of commitment, control and challenge displayed by Marine aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) specialist trainees correlated to success in classroom performance, success during practical exercises, higher graduation rates. The theoretical foundation for this ex post facto quantitative study was psychological and organizational resiliency, as represented by Kobasa's hardiness theory. The convenience sample consisted of 60 Marine ARFF specialists trainees using self-report surveys during 2013. Independent samples t tests and hierarchical regression analyses revealed no statistical significance between higher hardiness levels and academic and practical application performance, although physical injury and other factors not measured by the hardiness construct were found to impact graduation rates negatively. The implications for positive social change include expanding organizational conceptions of resilience to measure dispositional factors not assessed by hardiness. This study may also offer insights into improving Marine Corps and first responder selection, training, and educational programs, as well as their performance and quality of life.