Marie F. Macedonia, Psy.D., is a 2018 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Gargi Roysircar, EdD, Committee Chair
  • David Hamolsky, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Vincent Pignatiello, PsyD, Committee Member


Disaster responders, self-care, self-compassion, resilience, disaster response competencies, protective factors, vicarious traumatization

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Every year, natural and human-made disasters occur around the world bringing chaos and destruction to unsuspecting populations. Disaster responders, both trained professionals and volunteers, rally from around the world to provide care, help, and support to survivors of these catastrophes. Responders operate often in tragic circumstances and are exposed to various stressors. Despite a large body of literature on self-care and growing research on self-compassion and their respective effects on resilience (Friborg et al., 2006; Germer & Neff, 2013; Leary, Tate, Adams, Allen, & Hancock, 2007; Roysircar, 2008) there exists no measure that assesses first responders’ self-care, self-compassion, resilience, and their disaster response competencies. In addition, little is known about protective factors that prevent vicarious traumatization. In response to this need to assess the mental well-being of first responders, the study investigated how self-care and self-compassion contributed to the resilience of responders in disaster settings. In addition, the study investigated how protective and risk factors predicted responders’ disaster response competencies as well as resilience. Archival data were analyzed for the study. The use of the pilot measure, Disaster Response Competencies Questionnaire (DRCQ, Roysircar, 2010) provided the data. Participants were disaster responders (N = 77) between ages 22–74, who responded online to the measure. The purpose of the DRCQ was to screen responders and to do pre–post evaluation as related to their response service. The basic psychometric properties of the DRCQ were good to excellent with regard to the internal consistency reliabilities of six scales and their respective facets. There were strong positive Pearson r correlations among self-care, self-compassion, and resilience, while self-compassion had a strong negative Pearson r correlation with vicarious traumatization. Protective factors were also strong predictors of resilience and disaster response competencies. No gender difference was found in
self-compassion. The study’s results, limitations, and implications for future research are discussed.


Marie F. Macedonia

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0003-2245-0910