Retired Spouses of Public Safety Personnel in a Psychologist-Facilitated Support Group: Trends of Individual and Group Change

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The current study investigated the effectiveness of the facilitated support group provided to spouses of retired Veterans, firefighters, and correctional officer who are affected by Occupational Stress Transmission provided by WGM Psychological Services in Calgary for 12 months. A total of six participants provided consent to this study, and their Outcome Questionnaire and Group Questionnaire data were collected to examine the symptoms experienced and therapeutic relationships experienced by participants during the therapy. Specifically, the Outcome Questionnaire measured participants’ symptom distress (i.e., discomfort, depression, and anxiety levels), interpersonal relations (i.e., loneliness, conflict with others, and marriage and family difficulties), and social role (i.e., difficulties across different settings); and the Group Questionnaire measured positive bonding relationship, positive working relationship, and negative relationships to evaluate therapeutic relationships between member to leader, member to member, and member to group. The current study investigated if individuals showed change in symptoms, if all participants showed reduction in symptom as a group, if individuals showed improved therapeutic relationships during the therapy, and if therapeutic relationships impacted the successfulness of the professionally facilitated support group. The current study could not utilize a statistical analysis; therefore, the scores were analyzed by trend analysis (i.e., visual analysis of graphs), and utilizing score sorting system and pre-existing sample scores to identify any change to severity of symptoms. The results indicated that five participants experienced reduction in symptoms, therapeutic relationships were stable throughout the therapy, and the variables of therapeutic relationship was found to have no measurable impact on symptom change. The current study had limitations due to the format of the data, more depth interpretation and discussion of the findings, along with implications and future directions are provided in the study.
public safety personnel, first responders, families, spouses, occupational stress transmission, support group
Baek, C-M. (2020). Retired Spouses of Public Safety Personnel in a Psychologist-Facilitated Support Group: Trends of Individual and Group Change (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from