Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Scholars have validated both the damaging presence of police officer stress and separately, their increasing obese condition in the United States. Previous studies of police officers focus on stress or body weight, but not these variables conjointly. The purpose of this study was to inform policy creation by examining the problem of officer stress in relation to the calculated body mass index (BMI) values and to gain insight into stress outcomes. Lazarus and Folkman's stress-coping theory served as the research lens to examine if BMI would significantly contribute to the percent change of R2 variance accounted for in the predictive effect of self-reported organizational and operational stress in the past 6 months after controlling for age, gender, rank, marital status, shift work, and seniority. This quantitative research consisted of survey data that were collected from 132 volunteer officers using McCreary's Police Stress Questionnaires. Multiple regression analysis tested the predictive relationship between BMI and stress and regression model outputs illustrated no statistically significant relationship between officer stress and BMI; however, post hoc analyses found shift work to be a significant stress predictor (p = .01). Based on regression results and this body of research, social change implications include police administrators promoting policies and training which protects officers from the harmful effects of stress and BMI. Lessened stress can have a positive influence on the police and the entire public they serve.