Fatigue and burnout in police officers: the mediating role of emotions

Beata Aleksandra Basinska (Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland)
Izabela Wiciak (Department of Administration, Police Academy in Szczytno, Szczytno, Poland)
Anna Maria Dåderman (Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 12 August 2014



The policing profession is associated with psychosocial hazard. Fatigue and burnout often affect police officers, and may impair the functioning of the organization and public safety. The relationship between fatigue and burnout may be modified by job-related emotions. While negative emotions have been extensively studied, the role of positive emotions at work is relatively less known. Additionally, there is insufficient knowledge about the role of the intensity of emotions. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of job-related emotions in the relationship between fatigue and burnout in police officers.


In all, 169 police officers (26 women) completed a test battery that assessed acute fatigue, burnout (Oldenburg Burnout Inventory: exhaustion and disengagement), and emotions (Job-related Affective Well-being Scale).


Acute fatigue was associated more strongly with exhaustion than with disengagement. Low-arousal negative emotions partially mediated the relationship between fatigue and exhaustion. High-arousal positive and negative emotions were partial mediators between fatigue and disengagement experienced by police officers.

Research limitations/implications

The results show that high-arousal emotions were associated with changes in work motivation, while low-arousal negative emotions reduced energetic ability to work.


This paper enhances understanding of burnout among police officers and the mediating role of emotions. The patterns of the relationships between fatigue, burnout and emotions are discussed in the context of the conservation of resources theory and the tripartite model of anxiety and depression.



Aleksandra Basinska, B., Wiciak, I. and Maria Dåderman, A. (2014), "Fatigue and burnout in police officers: the mediating role of emotions", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 665-680. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-10-2013-0105

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