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Sandra Rasmussen


Stress has lasting and sometimes fatal effects on the law enforcement community, which can compromise the well-being of police officers. To date, there is little research on factors that influence the level of stress in police officers. The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study was to investigate the relationship of gender, used coping mechanisms, and levels of organizational and operational stress among police officers who have and have not received stress management training. Bandura's social learning theory and Lazarus and Folkman's theory of cognitive appraisal provided the theoretical foundation. Cross-sectional survey data from a convenience sample of 134 male and female police officers were collected using the Brief Cope, the Operational and Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire, and a demographic survey. An independent samples t test and multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses. According to study findings, officers who received stress management training demonstrated a higher use of adaptive coping mechanisms compared to those who did not receive training. In addition, gender and use of maladaptive coping predicted level of stress among officers. Evidently, receiving stress management training was useful for these participating police officers, and these findings suggest that the training may have positive demonstrable effects for other police officers. This study promotes positive social change by increasing knowledge and awareness of the value that stress management has in reducing level of stress and use of maladaptive coping in police officers, thus empowering the psychological needs of officers while endorsing public safety at the individual and societal level.

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