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Health disparities among police officers.
Hartley TA; Fekedulegn D; Burchfiel CM; Mnatsakanova A; Andrew ME; Violanti JM
Dying for the job: police work exposure and health. Violanti JM, ed. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd., 2014 Feb; :21-35
In this chapter, key studies on police officer health, including work with the Buffalo Cardio-metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) Study, were compared with results from studies of other U.S. employed adults. Police officers have higher levels of traditional CVD risk factors, including more current smokers, higher levels of obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia, than other U.S. employed adults. Officers also have higher prevalence of the non-traditional risk factors like depression, sleep insufficiency and shift work. Specific groups of officers who may be more adversely affected by these stressors including women and ethnic minorities who are underrepresented in policing, and military veterans who may be at greater risk for psychological disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, were also identified. Both the scientific literature and accounts from police officers themselves describe the stressors associated with being an officer. These include the routine organizational stressors common to other workers, along with unique stressors like shift work and exposure to dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations. Officers recognize the potential health effects associated with these stressors. Prior research has demonstrated associations between these stressors and poor health outcomes using cross-sectional studies, which limit the ability to determine if the exposure led to the outcome. Future studies of police officers should use a prospective study design so that the association and the potential biologic mechanisms responsible for these health disparities can be better understood.
Police-officers; Emergency-responders; Psychological-effects; Psychological-stress; Psychological-reactions; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Cardiovascular-system; Humans; Shift-work; Shift-workers; Sleep-disorders
Dying for the job: police work exposure and health
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division