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Associations of specific stressors, neuroticism, and perceived stress among police officers.
Violanti-JM; Mnatsakanova-A; Andrew-ME; Fekedulegn-D; Hartley-TA
Ann Epidemiol 2014 Sep; 24(9):688
Purpose: Examine associations of police work stressors with perceived stress and whether neuroticism, a personality trait indicating negative affect and poor adaptation, influenced this association. Methods: The Spielberger Police Stress Survey, Perceived Stress Scale, and the NEO-FF-I were utilized in this cross-sectional study of 380 police officers. Linear regression and ANCOVA were used to examine mean perceived stress levels across quartiles of police stressor scores (total, administrative, danger and lack of support). Associations were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, alcohol use, smoking status, and stratified by high (= median) versus low (<median) neuroticism scores. Results: The mean age of officers was 41.6 years and 27% were female. Adjusted mean perceived stress increased significantly with increasing total police stressor scores (p<0.001) and for administrative, danger, and lack of support stressors (p<0.001, p<0.010, and p<0.001, respectively). Only for neuroticism scores above the median was perceived stress significantly associated with increasing total stress scores (p<0.004) and administrative, and support stressors (p<0.001 and p<0.0002 respectively). The stress of danger was not significantly associated with increased perceived stress (p<0.221) for those high in neuroticism. Conclusions: Specific types of stressors in police work were significantly associated with perceived stress and this association was evident among officers with higher but not lower levels of neuroticism. Administrative stress and lack of support by police organizations appeared to exacerbate perceived stress among officers high in neuroticism more than the danger of this occupation. Previous research shows that high levels of neuroticism may actually be adaptive in dangerous situations.
Police-officers; Stress; Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers; Humans; Men; Women; Psychological-effects; Psychology; Psychological-stress; Statistical-analysis; Emergency-responders
Issue of Publication
Annals of Epidemiology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division