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Counselor Education and Supervision
Firefighters provide essential lifesaving services to the community. They are at high risk for mental health issues due to their exposure to trauma in the line of duty. Moreover, adverse effects on mental health can affect their ability to provide appropriate care to the community resulting in a serious social problem. Researchers have explored the concept that individuals can also experience growth from trauma. However, there are few studies that explore the factors that can predict growth in firefighters. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the degree to which selected variables such as the level of posttraumatic stress (PTSS) as measured by the Impact of Scale-Revised, the post trauma intervention the firefighter received, the number of years the firefighter has been a first responder, and the type of firefighter predict posttraumatic growth (PTG) as measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory-Short Form. The study was a quantitative design using a survey methodology. A nonprobability sample of size of 159 firefighters from 5 fire departments from Florida and North Carolina participated responded to the survey. The theoretical framework for this study was the theories of crisis intervention and the construct of PTG. A multiple regression analysis found that only PTSS significantly predicted PTG scores. The results suggest that PTSS accounts for 28% of the variation in PTG, which means that 72% of the variation in PTG cannot be explained by PTSS alone. The results contribute to social change by reinforcing the significance of the problem of the high levels of PTSS firefighters experience due to on the job exposure to trauma. Bringing awareness to this problem can help in the mission to generate policy change and further research.