Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Maria Levi-Minzi

Committee Member

Grace Telesco

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro


911 operators, first responder, qualitative, stress, trauma


911 operators are tasked with solving the caller's problem by promptly and efficiently decoding a cry for help, collecting pertinent information, quickly deciding its priority level, and dispatching the appropriate assistance. These employees are responsible for what happens on that line, internalizing their problems to solve those of the callers, which often result in stress disorders, trauma, and personal, professional, and social issues. Their job duties are extensive, the responsibility is vast, and the overall environment can be overwhelming. Aside from the environmental stressors, the details of each critical incident leave the employee susceptible to various risk factors and other adverse outcomes that could affect their lives and overall well- being. Few studies have examined how deeply 911 operators are impacted by their career choice, specifically, how their lives off duty may have changed because of what they experienced while on the job. This study explored the lived experiences of 911 operators and the impact that the line of work has had on the personal, relational, and social areas of their lives by utilizing the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach. The results suggest that 911 operators are affected by chronic exposure to traumatic events and details, which has forced changes in their personal lives (family, mental and physical health, social, and behavioral). This study adds to the literature on 911 operators and the potential benefits of implementing trauma, stress, and therapeutic health services/benefits/training on an organization-wide basis, where these types of services are extended to civilian employees working in police organizations.Recommendations for future research are also discussed.