Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Education

First Advisor

Welshimer, Kathleen


Emergency medical services personnel work in a fast-paced, stressful environment requiring rapid, efficient response to critical situations, creating unique safety considerations within the workforce. With an occupational fatality rate notably higher than average, most of which are attributed to vehicular crashes, compounded by risks faced on rural roadways, rural EMS personnel face unique driving challenges that may be exacerbated by the very traits, self-efficacy and risk propensity, that may have initially drawn them to the profession. The purpose of this study was to identify the extent to which rural EMS personnel engage in off-duty, risky driving behaviors and to examine the relationship between these behaviors and their levels of risk propensity as well as their self-efficacy relative to driving. A cross-sectional, quantitative study was conducted to explore the relationship between the variables. A 63-item survey was completed by 227 rural EMS personnel. The statistical model resulting from this study identifies risky-driving self-efficacy and risk propensity as significant predictors of engaging in risky driving behaviors, with self-efficacy emerging as the strongest predictor. The predictive model fit well within the Social Cognitive Theory construct of triadic reciprocity, providing a platform from which to develop mitigating strategies to foster systemic as well as behavioral changes, while tailoring interventions to highly self-efficacious, risk-taking individuals who gravitate toward risky professions, including rural EMS personnel.




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