Date of Conferral







Michael Johnson


For those working in the mortuary industry, exposure to traumatically deceased remains may predispose them to developing subjective Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS). The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the relationship among the independent variables of hardiness and perceived social support, and the dependent variable of subjective STS in mortuary workers. The theoretical foundations on which this research was based are the theories of stress and illness, secondary traumatic stress, hardiness, and social support. The primary research question governing this research was whether social support and hardiness had any correlation to the levels of subjective STS in this population. A second research question was whether or not the number of exposures to traumatic human remains was a moderating factor among the variables. The research used an online survey method to gather data using validated instruments to quantify the levels of the variables. Once quantified, the data was analyzed using hierarchical linear regression models. Briefly, hardiness reached a statistical significance in predicting levels of STS, while social support did not reach a statistically significant level. Number of exposures did not appear to be a factor in the expression of the variables. Recommendations regarding better stress coping strategies are made such as resilience training and encouraging social support. An understanding of the stresses experienced by mortuary workers will foster positive social change through better mental and physical health among this essential workforce.

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