Adverse Impacts of Organizational Stress on Officer Health and Wellness: Causes, Correlates, and Mitigation

Our study is designed to enhance officer health and wellness and promote organizational effectiveness through gaining a greater understanding of the pathways between stressors, individual and organizational characteristics, and adverse outcomes in law enforcement agencies.

Project Overview

Many researchers have found that officers’ perceptions of organizational stressors far outweigh operational stressors on the job, and these have been linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including poor health, quality of life, and performance as well as psychological distress and sleep problems. However, there is no broad theory-based, conceptual framework to link organizational stress, moderator variables, and outcomes. Less research attention has also been paid to mitigating the ill effects of stress on police and correctional officers or their employers. As such, we will also attempt to differentiate unique police and corrections officer stressors and identify individual and organizational mitigation strategies.

Among our anticipated outcomes will be a more comprehensive, descriptive and causal model of organizational stress, stress moderators, and key outcomes delineating the role of organizational stress, coping, and social support in predicting key health, performance, and wellness outcomes. Mitigation strategies proposed by officers, their supervisors, and commanders that could be further tested is another key outcome. We will develop a number of deliverables and scholarly products including a final research report, an archived data set available for other researchers, scholarly articles for targeted scholarly audiences, practitioner-oriented articles for broad dissemination, presentations at both professional and research conferences, individual officer feedback reports, and agency-specific findings.

Methodology

Our multi-method approach will allow us to test the strength and directionality of our proposed model using the most rigorous design possible. Our broad data collection effort will include agency-supplied administrative data on officers, an officer self-report instrument made up of a number of existing scales that have sufficient psychometric properties, physiological data from biometric devices for a subset of officers in both agencies, and focus group data from officers, supervisors, and commanders on potential stress mitigators. Our analytical plan involves structural equation modeling, mixed-model trajectory analysis of physiological data, testing Granger causality sequences, cluster analysis, and qualitative analysis of focus-group based data.

The Police Foundation is partnering with RTI International, an organization with significant expertise in biometrics.  We will also rely on a high-level advisory board to provide input and guidance throughout the course project, which will be chaired by Dr. John Violanti.

Results

Results are anticipated by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

Project Publications

Coming soon.

Service Area(s)

Staff Contact(s)

Karen Amendola

Karen L. Amendola, Ph.D.

Chief Behavioral Scientist

Travis Taniguchi

Travis Taniguchi, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Maria Valdovinos Olson

Maria Valdovinos Olson, M.A.

Senior Research Associate

Media Contact

Media inquiries should be directed to our Communications team at:

media@policefoundation.org
202-833-1460

More Information

Project Status: Active

Project Period:  January 2021 -

Research Design: Non-experimental

Research Method(s): Focus groups, Health monitoring and biometrics, Surveys, Secondary data analysis

Service Area(s)

Staff Contact(s)

Karen Amendola

Karen L. Amendola, Ph.D.

Chief Behavioral Scientist

Travis Taniguchi

Travis Taniguchi, Ph.D.

Director of Research

Maria Valdovinos Olson

Maria Valdovinos Olson, M.A.

Senior Research Associate

Media Contact

Media inquiries should be directed to our Communications team at:

media@policefoundation.org
202-833-1460