This study examined the role of social support in promoting quality of life in the aftermath of critical incidents involvement. Participants were a sample of 586 Italian rescue workers. Structural equation modelling was used to test the social support deterioration deterrence model. Results showed that the impact of critical incident involvement on quality of life indicators, such as compassion satisfaction, burnout, and compassion fatigue, was both direct and indirect through the mediation of social support. Critical incidents involvement was related to less received social support. Received social support predicted perceived social support, which, in turn, predicted quality of life. Results supported the application of the social support deterioration deterrence model to rescue workers. However, it should be noted that the relationship between exposure to critical incidents and received social support was not positive, as in the original model, but negative, meaning that rescue workers felt less supported in times of crisis. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.