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Todd D. Smith, Mari-Amanda Dyal, David M. DeJoy
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Wildland Firefighter Health

NRFSN number: 25660
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Safety-specific passive leadership has been negatively linked to diminished safety outcomes, including safety behaviors. However, this relationship is not fully understood. Research has not fully examined mediating factors that may be influenced by passive leadership, which then influence safety behaviors. Research among firefighters in this context is particularly absent. As such, this study aimed to examine relationships between safety-specific passive leadership, stress, anxiety, and compliance-oriented safety behavior outcomes among 708 professional firefighters. A path analysis was completed. The hypothesized model fit was very good and hypothesized relationships were confirmed. Safety-specific passive leadership was positively, significantly associated with increased firefighter stress perceptions and stress was positively, significantly associated with anxiety. Anxiety was negatively, significantly associated with both safety compliance and personal protective equipment behavior. This study has implications for researchers and practitioners. The findings emphasize the importance of active leaders in the fire service as passive leadership in the context of safety is distressing, which results in anxiety and ultimately diminished safety behavior outcomes, which could place firefighters at risk for injuries, illness, or death.


Smith TD, Dyal MA, and DeJoy DM. 2023. Firefighter Stress, Anxiety, and Diminished Compliance-Oriented Safety Behaviors: Consequences of Passive Safety Leadership in the Fire Service? Fire 6(6), 241;

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