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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Akiva M. Liberman, Suzanne R. Best, Thomas J. Metzler, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Daniel S. Weiss and Charles R. Marmar

The relationship between routine work stress and psychological distress was investigated among 733 police officers in three US cities, during 1998‐1999. The Work…

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Abstract

The relationship between routine work stress and psychological distress was investigated among 733 police officers in three US cities, during 1998‐1999. The Work Environment Inventory (WEI) was developed to assess exposure to routine work stressors, while excluding duty‐related traumatic stressors (critical incidents). The WEI and its general properties are presented. The relationship between routine work stress exposure and psychological distress is then explored. Exposure to routine work stressors predicted general psychological distress (r = 0.46), as well as post‐traumatic stress symptoms following officers’ most traumatic career incident (rs = 0.26 to 0.39). Multivariate analyses found that these effects were independent of, and larger than, the effects of cumulative critical incident exposure. (Time since the most traumatic event, social support, and social desirability effects were also controlled statistically.) Routine occupational stress exposure appears to be a significant risk factor for psychological distress among police officers, and a surprisingly strong predictor of post‐traumatic stress symptoms.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 4 August 2017

Peter G. Roma and Wendy L. Bedwell

To better understand contributing factors and mediating mechanisms related to team dynamics in isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments.

Abstract

Purpose

To better understand contributing factors and mediating mechanisms related to team dynamics in isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments.

Methodology/approach

Literature review.

Findings

Our primary focus is on cohesion and adaptation – two critical aspects of team performance in ICE environments that have received increased attention in both the literature and funding initiatives. We begin by describing the conditions that define ICE environments and review relevant individual biological, neuropsychiatric, and environmental factors that interact with team dynamics. We then outline a unifying team cohesion framework for long-duration missions and discuss several environmental, operational, organizational, and psychosocial factors that can impact team dynamics. Finally, we end with a discussion of directions for future research and countermeasure development, emphasizing the importance of temporal dynamics, multidisciplinary integration, and novel conceptual frameworks for the inherently mixed work and social setting of long-duration missions in ICE environments.

Social implications

A better understanding of team dynamics over time can contribute to success in a variety of organizational settings, including space exploration, defense and security, business, education, athletics, and social relationships.

Originality/value

We promote a multidisciplinary approach to team dynamics in ICE environments that incorporates dynamic biological, behavioral, psychological, and organizational factors over time.

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Article
Publication date: 20 November 2017

John M. Violanti, Luenda E. Charles, Erin McCanlies, Tara A. Hartley, Penelope Baughman, Michael E. Andrew, Desta Fekedulegn, Claudia C. Ma, Anna Mnatsakanova and Cecil M. Burchfiel

The purpose of this paper is to provide a state-of-the-art review on the topic of police stressors and associated health outcomes. Recent empirical research is reviewed in…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a state-of-the-art review on the topic of police stressors and associated health outcomes. Recent empirical research is reviewed in the areas of workplace stress, shift work, traumatic stress, and health. The authors provide a comprehensive table outlining occupational exposures and related health effects in police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of recent empirical research on police stress and untoward psychological and physiological health outcomes in police officers.

Findings

The results offer a conceptual idea of the empirical associations between stressful workplace exposures and their impact on the mental and physical well-being of officers.

Research limitations/implications

A key limitation observed in prior research is the cross-sectional study design; however, this serves as a motivator for researchers to explore these associations utilizing a longitudinal study design that will help determine causality.

Originality/value

This review provides empirical evidence of both mental and physical outcomes associated with police stress and the processes involved in both. Research findings presented in this paper are based on sound psychological and medical evidence among police officers

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 40 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Erin C. McCanlies, Anna Mnatsakanova, Michael E. Andrew, John M. Violanti and Tara A. Hartley

Balancing work and family in dual-earner households can be stressful. Research suggests that increased work-family conflict (WFC) significantly predicts poor psychological…

Abstract

Purpose

Balancing work and family in dual-earner households can be stressful. Research suggests that increased work-family conflict (WFC) significantly predicts poor psychological health and increased stress in police officers. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether child care stress was associated with anxiety symptoms and if stressful work events and shift work modified this relationship among 163 Buffalo, NY police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants indicated child care stress by reporting how much stress they felt (0 – none to 10 – high) when making child care/daily living arrangements. Shiftwork was assessed from pay-roll data (1994 to date of exam) and by asking, “Do you work opposite shift from your spouse/partner to care for your children?” to assess partner’s shift. The Beck Anxiety Scale and Spielberger Police Stress Survey were used to assess anxiety and work stress, respectively. Effect modification was assessed by stratifying on police stress scores using their median values, and on partner’s shift. All models were adjusted for age, alcohol intake, sex and smoking status.

Findings

Results suggest that child care stress was positively associated with anxiety symptoms and that this relationship was moderated by high (>median) work stress factors and afternoon/midnight shift-work, but not having a partner who works opposite shift. These results indicate that child care stress is associated with anxiety symptoms and that this relationship may be modified by work factors.

Research limitations/implications

A number of limitations should be considered while interpreting the results. This study is cross-sectional, which prevents causal inferences; therefore, the temporal pattern between exposure and outcome cannot be determined. The independent, dependent and moderating variables are all self-report measures, which may introduce recall bias. Lastly, generalizability is limited to police departments of similar size and geographic area.

Practical implications

Police experience high stress as part of their jobs, these results indicate that similar to other professions, WFC can also affect police officers, and is associated with higher levels of anxiety.

Originality/value

Few research studies have evaluated the affects of family issues in police. Specifically, the relationship between child care stress and anxiety, and how this relationship may be modified by high work stress.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2007

John M. Violanti, Michael Andrew, Cecil M. Burchfiel, Tara A. Hartley, Luenda E. Charles and Diane B. Miller

The purpose of the present study is to examine associations between post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and salivary cortisol parameters.

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2480

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present study is to examine associations between post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and salivary cortisol parameters.

Design/methodology/approach

PTSD symptoms and cortisol responses were measured in a random sample of 100 police officers. The impact of event scale (IES) categorized into subclinical, mild, moderate and severe levels was employed to measure PTSD symptoms. Cortisol was analyzed from saliva samples over a period of three days and included an awakening response, high protein lunch challenge, whole day (diurnal), and a dexamethasone suppression test (DST).

Findings

Officers in moderate and severe PTSD symptom categories had higher mean awakening cortisol values. A significant sample‐time by PTSD interaction (p=0.008) was found for awakening cortisol responses. Officers in the severe PTSD symptom category showed a blunted response to the cortisol protein meal challenge compared to those in lower PTSD categories. Diurnal cortisol levels suggested an increasing trend across subclinical to severe PTSD categories respectively (p=0.15 test for trend). DST ratios were lower in moderate and severe PTSD symptom categories (6.86 and 8.03 respectively) than in the subclinical and mild categories (9.32 and 10.43 respectively).

Research limitations/implications

The sample was not representative of all police in the USA. These results suggest that associations between psychological trauma symptoms and dysregulation of cortisol patterns may exist and could possibly affect future health outcomes in police officers.

Practical implications

Exposure to trauma and disaster events emphasizes the need to further investigate the health impact of PTSD on police personnel as well as other first responder groups.

Originality/value

This article will not only be of interest to those in the police service but to the general public. The present study may serve to provide a guide for larger police population investigations on PTSD and physiological impact.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2019

Lorena R. Perez-Floriano and Jorge A. Gonzalez

Integrating the transactional model of stress with risk analysis perspectives and death awareness theory, this paper aims to explore how job-related risks and the…

Abstract

Purpose

Integrating the transactional model of stress with risk analysis perspectives and death awareness theory, this paper aims to explore how job-related risks and the experience of a critical job injury influence work stress and withdrawal intentions for workers in dangerous occupations, as well as the relationship between stress and job performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The study relies on survey and archival data from Mexican police officers, taking into account the occupational and national context.

Findings

The results showed differences between officers who had or had not been injured in the line of duty and a complex stress-performance relationship for the former group. Officers who had been injured reported higher job-related risks and work stress. Also, for them, work stress had a direct, positive relationship with job performance, as well as an indirect, negative relationship with such outcome through work withdrawal intentions.

Research limitations/implications

The uniqueness of the setting may present problems with generalisability, but the study provides a rich contextual description to guide scholars and practitioners. The complex work stress – job performance relationship implies that managers can assess and use workers’ construction of danger and risk to improve their work performance, but that they should be mindful of potential adverse repercussions on work withdrawal.

Originality/value

The study informs the transactional model of stress and the monolithic model of police culture, affirms the role of perception of resources to manage risk and stress in dangerous occupations, introduces the role of mortality cues in shaping risk perceptions and points to the benefits of performance metrics in risk and work stress research.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Nualnong Wongtongkam

Violence directed at ambulance paramedics has attracted increasing public attention because of its major negative impact on the physical and psychological well-being of…

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1744

Abstract

Purpose

Violence directed at ambulance paramedics has attracted increasing public attention because of its major negative impact on the physical and psychological well-being of victims and productivity of organisations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of violent incidents, contributing factors, burnout and post-traumatic symptoms among paramedics.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional survey was distributed in two ambulance services in Tasmania and South Australia, with self-administered instruments completed online. In total, 48 respondents completed questionnaires.

Findings

There were no significant differences between sites in timing of violent incidents, consequences of traumatic events or organisation provision. Surprisingly, over 90 per cent of paramedics had not been pushed, slapped, beaten, scratched or spat on in the previous month. There was a statistically significant difference between genders for being yelled at or verbally abused (p=0.02). When considering burnout, female paramedics showed significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion t(37)=–2.32, p=0.02 and lower levels of career satisfaction than their male counterparts, t(37)=3.32, p=0.00.

Originality/value

Although prevalence rates of violent incidents seemed lower than expected, policy interventions to encourage female paramedics to display their professional identities and steps to enhance well-being and safety while on duty should be considered.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Martin Gächter, Davd A. Savage and Benno Torgler

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of social capital with the negative externalities associated with stress, or the psychological and physiological…

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2608

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of social capital with the negative externalities associated with stress, or the psychological and physiological strains experienced by police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data collected in 1999 from a survey of Baltimore Police officers designed to examine questions about the relationship between police stress and domestic violence in police families and using multivariate regression analysis, the paper focuses on five different proxies for stress and strain, and two proxies for social capital and conducting several robustness checks.

Findings

Results show that an increase in social capital is significantly correlated to a decrease in the level of strain, in the psychological, physical, burnout and health areas.

Research limitations/implications

While this study examines the social capital/strain relationship with US officers, more research is needed, as these findings may not extrapolate well into other national settings. It may also be interesting to further explore sub‐cultures within departments. Additionally, the data may be dated and, as major changes and events have occurred since the survey, a newer study of officers would be needed to observe whether these changes have had significant impact.

Practical implications

From a policy perspective, the findings suggest that stress reduction programs should actively engage employees to build stronger social networks.

Originality/value

This study comprehensively examines the ability of social capital at negating the impacts of strains, and significantly reduces the impact of major trauma events. This paper adds to the literature as there are few multivariate analyses of the social capital/strain relationship.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 April 2018

John M. Violanti, Sherry L. Owens, Erin McCanlies, Desta Fekedulegn and Michael E. Andrew

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of law enforcement suicide research from 1997 to 2016.

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1912

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of law enforcement suicide research from 1997 to 2016.

Design/methodology/approach

The PRISMA systematic review methodology was implemented. A SCOPUS search identified a total of 97 documents. After applying all exclusion criteria, the results included a list of 44 articles in the review.

Findings

Overall, studies investigating law enforcement suicide rates show conflicting results, with some studies showing lower suicide rates among law enforcement, some showing higher rates, and some showing no difference to comparison populations. Recurring research themes were lack of an appropriate comparison group, and small statistical power, particularly for minority and female officers. Stressors related to suicide among police included lack of organizational support, traumatic events, shift work, stigma associated with asking for help, or problems associated with fitting in with the police culture. Problems associated with domestic relationships and alcohol use were commonly mentioned as precursors to suicide or as correlates of suicidal ideation and were hypothesized to arise from stressful working conditions.

Research limitations/implications

Some limitations in law enforcement suicide research include the lack of theory, under-reporting of suicides, and guarded survey responses from police officers. Future directions in police suicide research include investigating etiological factors such as past adverse life and family experiences, social-ecological variation in suicide, or differences in suicide rates within the law enforcement occupation.

Practical implications

Police work, given chronic and traumatic stress, lack of support, danger, and close public scrutiny is a fertile occupation for increased suicide risk. Awareness of the scope of the problem and associated risk factors can help to initiate prevention programs.

Originality/value

This paper provides a long-term review of literature regarding police suicidality, with suggestions for research and prevention.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 42 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 December 2019

Penelope Allison, Anna Mnatsakanova, Erin McCanlies, Desta Fekedulegn, Tara A. Hartley, Michael E. Andrew and John M. Violanti

Chronic exposure to occupational stress may lead to depressive symptoms in police officers. The association between police stress and depressive symptoms and the potential…

Abstract

Purpose

Chronic exposure to occupational stress may lead to depressive symptoms in police officers. The association between police stress and depressive symptoms and the potential influences of coping and hardiness were evaluated. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

Stress level was assessed in the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress Study (2004–2009) with the Spielberger Police Stress Survey. The frequency and severity of events at work were used to calculate stress indices for the past year. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale was used to measure depressive symptoms during the past week. Linear regression was used to evaluate the association between the stress indices and depressive symptom scores. Models were adjusted for age, sex, race, smoking status and alcohol intake, and stratified by median values for coping (passive, active and support seeking) and hardiness (control, commitment and challenge) to assess effect modification.

Findings

Among the 388 officers (73.2 percent men), a significant positive association was observed between total stress and the CES-D score (β=1.98 (SE=0.36); p<0.001). Lower CES-D scores were observed for officers who reported lower passive coping (β=0.94 (SE=0.45); p=0.038) and higher active coping (β=1.41 (SE=0.44); p=0.002), compared with their counterparts. Officers higher in hardiness had lower CES-D scores, particularly for commitment (β=0.86 (SE=0.35); p=0.016) and control (β=1.58 (SE=0.34); p<0.001).

Originality/value

Results indicate that high active coping and hardiness modify the effect of work stress in law enforcement, acting to reduce depressive symptoms.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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