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Emotional self-efficacy and psychological health of police officers

Clémence Violette Emeriau-Farges (Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Canada)
Andrée-Ann Deschênes (Sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Canada)
Marc Dussault (École de Gestion, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, Canada)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 21 February 2019

Issue publication date: 22 July 2019




The evaluation of emotional management in police environments has impacts on their health and on their interventions (Monier, 2014; Van Hoorebeke, 2003). There are significant costs related to occupational diseases in the police force: absenteeism, turnover, deterioration of the work climate (Al Ali et al., 2012). Considering that policing involves a high level of emotional control and management (Monier, 2014; Al Ali et al., 2012; Dar, 2011) and that no study has yet examined the relationship between police officers’ emotional competencies and their psychological health at work (PHW), the purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship and influence of emotional self-efficacy (ESE) on PHW in policing.


PHW results from psychological distress at work (PDW) (irritability, anxiety, disengagement) and psychological well-being at work (PWBW) (social harmony, serenity and commitment at work) (Gilbert et al., 2011). ESE is defined as the individual’s belief in his or her own emotional skills and effectiveness in producing desired results (Bandura, 1997), conceptualized through seven emotional skills: the use of emotions; the perception of one’s own emotions and that of others; the understanding of one’s emotions and that of others; and the management of one’s emotions and that of others (Deschênes et al., 2016). A correlational estimate was used with a sample of 990 employed police officers, 26 percent of whom were under 34 years of age and 74 percent over 35. The ESE scales (a=0.97) of Deschênes et al. (2018) and Gilbert et al. (2011) on PWBW (a=0.91) and PDW (a=0.94) are used to measure the concepts under study.


The results of the regression analyses confirm links between police officers’ emotional skills and PHW. The results show that self-efficacy in managing emotions, self-efficacy in managing emotions that others feel, self-efficacy in using emotions and self-efficacy in understanding emotions partially explain PWBW (R2=0.30, p<0.001). On the other hand, self-efficacy in perceiving the emotions that others feel, self-efficacy in using emotions and self-efficacy in managing emotions partially explain PDW (R2=0.30, p<0.001).


This study provided an understanding of the correlation between police officers’ feelings of ESE and their PHW, particularly with PWBW. Beyond the innovation and theoretical contribution of such a study on the police environment, the results reveal the scope of the consideration of emotional skills in this profession.



Emeriau-Farges, C.V., Deschênes, A.-A. and Dussault, M. (2019), "Emotional self-efficacy and psychological health of police officers", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 598-610.



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