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Mindfulness Training: Worthwhile as a Means to Enhance First Responder Crisis Decision Making

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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This thesis identified a need for improvement in first-responder crisis decision making. The primary research question was, would mindfulness training be worthwhile as a means to enhance first-responder crisis decision making Qualitative research methods primarily a thematic analysis of the literature were utilized to explore the areas of first responder operations, crisis decision making, and mindfulness training to identify key categories in the data relevant to the primary and sub-research questions. Evidence uncovered during this research supports a conclusion that mindfulness training may be one way in which first responders can improve upon their capacity to make effective decisions during a crisis. It was demonstrated that these improvements to crisis decision making resultant from mindfulness training could very well culminate in significant improvement of outcomes during future emergencies and disasters at which mindful first responders are present. Despite significant implementation challenges that were identified, systematic analysis of the literature revealed sufficient evidence to warrant serious consideration for further study and application of this theory in the field, including potential implementation of discipline-specific and culturally relevant mindfulness training systems within first responder organizations.

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