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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

Keywords

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

Article
Publication date: 24 May 2022

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

The goal of the present study is to determine the proportionate mortality and national rate of duty-related deaths from COVID-19 among US law enforcement officers during…

Abstract

Purpose

The goal of the present study is to determine the proportionate mortality and national rate of duty-related deaths from COVID-19 among US law enforcement officers during the year 2020.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for the current study were obtained from the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) database for the year 2020. The database contains deaths designated as caused by incidents that occurred while in the line of duty. The chi-square test and two-sample t-test were used to compare characteristics of officers who died of COVID-19 versus other causes of death. Both the proportionate mortality and rates of death were calculated. To compute the rate of death, the authors obtained data on the total number of law enforcement officers employed in the United States (and therefore at risk) for the year 2020 from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Findings

COVID-19 deaths (n = 182) accounted for 62% of all duty-related law enforcement officer deaths during 2020. The national rate of death due to COVID-19 (12.8/100,000 per year) for law enforcement officers was higher compared to all other causes of death combined (8.0/100,000 per year).

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the study is the uncertainty of a definitive assessment that the viral infection was acquired through work (versus at home or other non-work-related community settings). Although highly unlikely, deaths designated as duty related entail financial benefits for the survivors and may be a potential source of bias. Given the complexity of personal exposures, the percentage of COVID-19 deaths attributed to duty may represent an over or under estimation of the actual value. Therefore, the data should be interpreted cautiously.

Practical implications

These findings provide police organizations with information needed to understand the risk of death among officers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to make informed decisions about future preparedness strategies.

Originality/value

There are presently no published scientific studies that examine both the proportionate mortality and national rate of death from COVID-19 among law enforcement officers for the year 2020.

Details

Policing: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

Keywords

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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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

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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