Occupational athletes: Moving toward an integrated approach to enhancing firefighting performance.

Stacy Gnacinski, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Theme: Novel applications (music, dance, military)

Poster Number: 62

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Over the past 30 years, research has supported relationships between the physical and psychological variables related to performance in sport (Gilson et al., 2012; Weinberg et al., 1979). While such relationships have been examined in other performance domains (e.g., performing arts, etc.), they have not been examined in the public service domain. The paucity of performance-related research on occupational athletes (e.g., firefighters, police officers, etc.) is surprising given the observable similarities between the physical and psychological demands of sport and the public service professions. In an effort to better understand firefighting performance, with an eye toward designing integrated approaches to firefighter training and development, the purpose of the current study was to identify relationships between the physical and psychological factors associated with firefighting performance. Male cadets, recruits, and firefighters (n = 49, Mage = 27.7 years) completed a battery of physical and psychological assessments. Correlation calculations indicated that lower body strength was significantly correlated with self-efficacy (r = .300, p = .036), openness (r = .340, p = .017), and conscientiousness (r = .341, p = .016). Muscular endurance was significantly correlated with both self-efficacy (r = .283, p = .049) and conscientiousness (r = .286, p = .046). Correlation calculations also revealed significant correlations between the following variables: upper body strength and conscientiousness (r = .320, p = .025), aerobic capacity and trait anxiety (r = .304, p = .034), and functional movement and conscientiousness (r = .370, p = .009). These findings, consistent with the sport literature, warrant additional research to further understand the influence of specific physical and psychological variables on performance among this population of occupational athletes.

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