Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Melissa Schrift

Thesis Professor Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Thesis Reader(s)

Lindsey King


EMS personnel tend to face higher burnout rates than those in similar professions, which makes them more likely to make mistakes, engage in safety-compromising behaviors, and get injured. This project examines humor used in the form of Internet memes as a coping mechanism. Internet memes are modifiable, replicable units of cultural transmission that are passed and gain influence through the Internet. I applied the Maslach Burnout Inventory to EMS related memes on the website Reddit. I found that memes that dealt with burnout typically referenced non-traumatic factors as being the source of burnout, and that these memes would often lead to conversations that allowed EMS personnel to share their experiences with one another. I concluded that internet memes can provide a way for EMS personnel to express their feelings anonymously and through a façade of humor, and can also let other people who may be going through similar experiences know that they are not alone.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.