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Psychological distress constructs in police with different roles

Psychological distress constructs in police with different roles Police personnel report relatively high rates of mental health difficulties, and are at an increased risk of experiencing stress, burnout, secondary traumatic stress and anxiety as a result of the nature of their work and may also experience low compassion satisfaction. However, it is likely that the prevalence of psychological distress varies across roles. The purpose of this paper is to explore psychological distress, in a large sample of police personnel, examining differences between individuals in a number of police roles.Design/methodology/approachA questionnaire assessing experience of mental health problems, perceived stress, compassion fatigue (burnout and secondary traumatic stress), compassion satisfaction and anxiety was administered to 602 police personnel, who were classified into one of ten roles (24/7 officers, communications, firearms, crime, resolution without deployment, neighbourhood, custody, safeguarding, operations and other roles). Differences based on role and the requirement for shift work were then examined.Findings24/7 officers had higher compassion fatigue and lower compassion satisfaction than individuals in a number of other roles. Firearms officers had lower levels of perceived stress and anxiety. Resolution without deployment officers reported higher secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. The findings also revealed that respondents who partake in shift work showed higher levels of perceived stress.Originality/valueThis is the first study to the authors’ knowledge to investigate experience of mental health problems and reports of psychological distress in different roles within a UK police force. The findings have important implications, for example, in terms of identifying groups who may be particularly at risk from psychological distress. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Emergency Services Emerald Publishing

Psychological distress constructs in police with different roles

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2047-0894
DOI
10.1108/ijes-06-2018-0033
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Police personnel report relatively high rates of mental health difficulties, and are at an increased risk of experiencing stress, burnout, secondary traumatic stress and anxiety as a result of the nature of their work and may also experience low compassion satisfaction. However, it is likely that the prevalence of psychological distress varies across roles. The purpose of this paper is to explore psychological distress, in a large sample of police personnel, examining differences between individuals in a number of police roles.Design/methodology/approachA questionnaire assessing experience of mental health problems, perceived stress, compassion fatigue (burnout and secondary traumatic stress), compassion satisfaction and anxiety was administered to 602 police personnel, who were classified into one of ten roles (24/7 officers, communications, firearms, crime, resolution without deployment, neighbourhood, custody, safeguarding, operations and other roles). Differences based on role and the requirement for shift work were then examined.Findings24/7 officers had higher compassion fatigue and lower compassion satisfaction than individuals in a number of other roles. Firearms officers had lower levels of perceived stress and anxiety. Resolution without deployment officers reported higher secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. The findings also revealed that respondents who partake in shift work showed higher levels of perceived stress.Originality/valueThis is the first study to the authors’ knowledge to investigate experience of mental health problems and reports of psychological distress in different roles within a UK police force. The findings have important implications, for example, in terms of identifying groups who may be particularly at risk from psychological distress.

Journal

International Journal of Emergency ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 4, 2019

Keywords: Burnout; Compassion fatigue; Compassion satisfaction

References