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Nonlinearity of the effects of police stressors on police officer burnout

Matti Vuorensyrjä (Police College of Finland, Tampere, Finland)
Matti Mälkiä (Police College of Finland, Tampere, Finland)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 23 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to take a look at police‐specific factors of stress – police stressors – and to assess the effects of these factors on police officer burnout. The paper also seeks to test the linearity of these effects.

Design/methodology/approach

The study focuses on four stressors: defective leadership, role conflicts, threat of violence, and time pressure. As a measure of burnout, Bergen Burnout Indicator 15 is used. The data are cross‐section in nature and come from the Police Personnel Barometer (PPB) conducted in Finland in 2008. The PPB‐survey targeted the entire police administration in Finland. The response rate was 67.2 percent (n=6,871). The current paper uses a sub‐sample of police officers (constable rank) from three functional areas of policing (n=2,821).

Findings

Controlling for age, gender, education, shift work, tenure and the function of the police officer, the effects of the different stressors on burnout were all statistically significant. Statistically significant and robust nonlinear effects of the stressors on burnout were also found.

Originality/value

The study introduces a new measure of stress to analyze police work. It takes a preliminary look at the reliability and validity of the measure. The study considers linear as well as nonlinear effects of the stressors on burnout and suggests that the effects under scrutiny are essentially nonlinear.

Keywords

Citation

Vuorensyrjä, M. and Mälkiä, M. (2011), "Nonlinearity of the effects of police stressors on police officer burnout", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 382-402. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639511111157474

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited