Police stress and depressive symptoms: role of coping and hardiness
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Police stress and depressive symptoms: role of coping and hardiness

Filetype[PDF-425.35 KB]

  • English

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    • Description:
      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.

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