Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Jyothi Gupta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Importance: Responding to traumatic incidents can cause negative effects on first responders mental and physical health. In 2018, Arizona passed the Officer Craig Tiger Act requiring state funded departments and agencies to provide sworn firefighters and police officers with 36 licensed counseling visits following a traumatic event. Objective: This cross-sectional study looks at the perceived benefits of the Act through the perspective of the first responders. Methods: A survey was completed by 65 first responders. The survey included the Quality of Life Scale (QOLS), the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and a questioner to gather demographic, customer satisfaction, and qualitative information. Results: Counselor satisfaction was high, with only 1 respondent reporting being unsatisfied. Scores on the QOLS were negatively correlated with scores on both the PCL-5 and the PSS. The most frequently selected coping skill was “exercise.” Increased access to counseling was a major qualitative theme. Stress and anxiety management were the top things counseling assisted with. Learning a variety of coping skills beyond exercise was also reported. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the benefits of the Officer Craig Tiger Act through the perspective of the first responder. Occupational therapists can use this study to further guide their practice when working with first responders.
Wittwer, Matthew, "The Perceived Benefits of Counseling Provided to First Responders through the Officer Craig Tiger Act" (2020). OT Student Capstones. 34.