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Title:Firefighters: attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to high-risk behaviors
Author(s):Reinhardt-Klein, Jeanette
Director of Research:Rounds, James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rounds, James
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hannum, James W.; Petruzzello, Steven J.; Chiu, Chi-Yue; Chang, Hua-Hua
Department / Program:Educational Psychology
Discipline:Educational Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
risk-taking behavior
Abstract:This study investigated the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to risk-taking intentions among firefighters. To examine if attitudes have an effect on risk-taking intentions, the Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen (TPB; 1988, 1991, 2001) was applied. A questionnaire and scenarios were developed to assess the TPB. Further interest was if emotion-laden stimuli moderate firefighters’ intentions to engage in risky scenarios. Two primes, one depicted a firefighter fighting a fire blast (hero), the other one depicted a firefighter handing candy to children (public servant) were used in the study. The study consisted of 155 firefighters who were randomly assigned to three groups: hero group, public servant group, and control group. It was assumed that firefighters primed with the picture of a hero will show higher risk-taking intentions than firefighters primed with the picture of a public servant. Further, firefighters in the control group will show less risk-taking intentions. The hypotheses were not supported in this study. Path model analyses, multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA), and hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) were used to analyze the data. The path model showed that attitudes and subjective norms were strong predictors of intentions for firefighters’ risk-taking intentions across five scenarios. The results of the MANCOVA detected the presence of an overall significant effect of condition on attitudes across all scenarios, except for scenario 5, and a significant priming effect on subjective norms in scenario 5. The HLM demonstrated that firefighters differed systematically in their intentions of risk-taking, depending on whether or not they were primed. Age, years of education, and lengths of service had no influence on firefighters’ risk-taking intentions. The results of the study are limited to other occupational groups by the underrepresentation of diversity in ethnicity, gender, and occupational background of firefighters.
Issue Date:2010-05-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Jeanette Reinhardt-Klein
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-20
Date Deposited:2010-05

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