Date of Conferral
Wayne A. Wallace
Compassion fatigue is a natural response to caring, where burnout and exhaustion result from helping professions which includes police officers. Exposure to trauma and stress increases the risk of developing compassion fatigue in helper professions and may have negative implications on overall mental health and physical well-being. However, not much is known about the behavioral effects of compassion fatigue among police officers during use-of-force incidents. The purpose of this study was to examine whether compassion fatigue in police officers is predictive of use-of- force incidents. The theoretical foundation was Figley’s theory of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue. Survey data were collected from a purposeful sample of 144 U.S. police officers using the Professional Quality of Life Scale and a use of force self-report scale that identified types and amounts of force used in the last 30 days. Results of logistic regression and t tests indicated that higher scores on the burnout subscale are a significant predictor for the use of nonlethal force in comparison to participants with high compassion satisfaction scores. Results may be used by law enforcement agencies to change mental health policies and training curriculum and create intervention programs that identify factors that contribute to a police officer’s decision-making capabilities as the prevalence of police misconduct complaints stem from use-of-force incidents.
Devan, Amanda K., "Compassion Fatigue and Police Use of Force" (2020). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 8877.