The work of Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMDs) is filled with a variety of stressors, and one of those being emotional labor. Despite research on emotional labor, few studies have quantitatively examined this construct within EMDs. Compared to the plethora of emotional labor literature that focuses on the display of positive emotions, EMDs are required to suppress or neutralize any negative reactions they may experience. Hence, this study was concerned with the further examination of emotional labor, physical health outcomes, burnout, and job satisfaction in a unique population. Additionally, the construct of work-related rumination is in its infancy. It can be argued that surface acting and deep acting serve as antecedents to work-related rumination. One hundred one participants from a Midwest emergency communications professional group completed self-report surveys on emotional labor, work-related rumination, and strain outcomes. Results showed EMDs experience higher levels of surface acting compared to other professions, and surface acting is more detrimental and leads to more negative outcomes compared to deep acting. The affective rumination component of the work-related rumination was also positively correlated to strain outcomes. Lastly, those that reported higher levels of surface acting also endorsed higher levels of affective rumination. In conclusion, EMDs do experience high levels of emotional labor, and engage in the more taxing surface acting strategy. This also suggests that the relationship between surface acting and affective rumination, contributes to the most strain outcomes, and it may be that affective rumination mediates the relationship between suppression of feelings (surface acting) and strain outcomes. Further directions and limitations are also discussed.


Lisa Perez

Committee Member

Emily Stark

Committee Member

Dave Engen

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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