Date of Award
Master of Science
Barbara B. Meyer
Kyle T. Ebersole, Kathryn R. Zalewski
Exercise Physiology, Firefighting, Integrated Performance, Occupational Athletes, Sport Performance, Sport Psychology
Introduction: Over the past 20 years, the injury rates among firefighters have captured the interest of sport scientists. In order to prevent firefighter injuries, however, scholars must first gain a better understanding of firefighting performance (Smith, 2011). This has been a challenge, since to date sport scientists have focused primarily on the physical aspects of firefighting performance and have overlooked the multidimensional nature of firefighting performance (Gnacinski, Meyer, & Ebersole, in press). In the sport arena, sport scientists often use theoretical models to conceptualize the multiple demands experienced by an athlete. Guided by an integrated model of sport performance, the Meyer Athlete Performance Management Model (MAPM; Meyer, Merkur, Ebersole, & Massey, in press), the purposes of the current study were to: (a) describe the physical and psychological characteristics of cadets, recruits, and active firefighters; (b) compare physical and psychological characteristics of cadets, recruits, and active firefighters; and (c) provide evidence-based recommendations for the development of integrated firefighting training programs. Methods: Male cadets (n = 11), recruits (n = 27), and active firefighters (n = 15) completed a battery of physical (i.e., aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, body composition, functional movement, muscular power) and psychological (i.e., personality, self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, anxiety, psychological skills use) assessments. Results: No significant differences emerged between groups for any of the physical or psychological characteristics assessed with the exception of several psychological skills used during training. Specifically, cadets and active firefighters reported using self-talk, emotional control, and attentional control more than recruits (ps < .001), active firefighters reported using automaticity more so than recruits (p = .003), and cadets reported using activation more so than recruits (p = .001). Discussion: Results of the current study supported the use of an integrated model of sport performance to conceptualize firefighting performance. Results of the current study also provided directions for firefighting training programs and future research.
Gnacinski, Stacy L., "Occupational Athletes: An Integrated Approach to Firefighting Performance" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 105.