C. J. Miller

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Propp, Kathleen Marie

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication


Emergency medical technician and patient; Communication in emergency medicine; Emergency medical technicians


The primary goal of the study was to examine how an emergency medical technician (EMT) gains compliance with a patient in both high- and lowemergency situations. The EMT-patient relationship had yet to be studied in the field of health communication and, therefore, the main objectives of this investigation were (a) to establish a basic foundation for this new relationship, and (b) understand what communicative strategies to gain compliance are employed by EMTs at two levels of emergency. By using Brown and Levinson?s (1987) politeness theory as the primary theoretical tool, I posited that EMTs would use less polite strategies in highemergency situations versus low-emergency situations. Data supported the hypothesis and further revealed the impact of the variable of power on the dyad. In two separate manipulation checks conducted to test for the control variables, respondents suggested they were willing to give more power to the prehospital worker in situations of greater urgency than they were in lower-emergency situations. Moreover, EMTs had an identical response to the power variable which is argued to be one of the two reasons why EMTs are allowed to be less polite in higher-emergency situations. The findings of the thesis also provide a detailed descriptive analysis regarding communicative patterns used by EMTs in the two emergency situations. Specifically, EMTs follow a logical four-step plan in emergency situations: (a) introduction, (b) questioning, (c) explanation, and (d) transport.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [99]-102).


viii, 128 pages




Northern Illinois University

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