Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Psychology

First Advisor

Vincent Van-Hasselt

Second Advisor

Barry Schneider

Third Advisor

Ryan A. Black

Fourth Advisor

Nathalie Stepp


assessment, clinical psychology, firefighter, first responder, police psychology, retirement


The past decade has witnessed a significant increase in clinical attention directed to mental health problems in firefighters. The basis for heightened activity in this area is the convergence of evidence indicating that firefighters demonstrate significantly high levels of psychological disorders such as depression and PTSD (Henderson et al., 2016). A previously unexplored risk factor for psychopathology in firefighters is active retirement. Retirement can lead to a decline in psychological functioning, as well as a decline in a person’s self-concept clarity through group loss (Slotter, Winter & Soto, 2015). This loss has the potential to cause, or enhance, feelings of depression, anger, social isolation, and worthlessness. Therefore, it is increasingly important to examine self-concept clarity and its relationship to psychological functioning in retired firefighters to help decrease their risk of developing mental health problems that can lead to diminished functioning, self- harm, or even suicidality.

The purpose of this study was to better understand prevalence rates of psychological disorders in retired firefighters, and to determine if significant associations exist between self-concept clarity in retirees and overall psychological functioning. Further analyses explored whether or not self-concept clarity mediated or moderated associations between antecedent variables and psychological functioning such as length of time in retirement, daily pain level, and length of time served as a career firefighter. It was anticipated that this study would identify significant psychological problems faced by firefighters in retirement, which would ultimately help lead to the creation of both pre-retirement and retirement services focused on enhancing psychological wellbeing for retirees.

Included in

Psychology Commons