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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on police officers' mental health: preliminary results of a Portuguese sample
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences & Risk and Crisis Research Center, Mid Sweden University, Sundvall, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3955-7688
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2588-0780
2021 (English)In: European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin: Special Conference Edition Nr. 5 / [ed] Detlef Nogala, Ioana Bordeianu, Ksenija Butorac, Thomas Görgen, Miklós Hollán, Vesa Huotari, André Konze, Herminio Joaquim de Matos, Jozef Medelský, Bence Mészáros, José Francisco Pavia, Aurelija Pūraitė, Grzegorz Winnicki, European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) , 2021, p. 111-119Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study had a twofold objective. First, we aimed to measure the levels of stress symptoms and burnout on the police officers who volunteered for the study. Second, we proposed to examine the effect of COVID-19 exposure and exposure to traumatic experiences in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic on the officers’ mental health.

The National Directorate of the Policia de Segurança Pública (Portuguese Public Security Police) approved this study and was responsible for distributing information about the study and the link to an online questionnaire among their officers. As expected, the levels of burnout, psychological distress, and posttraumatic stress (PTS) were higher than similar professional populations in non-pandemic conditions. Officers with fewer than 11 years of work experience showed fewer symptoms of PTS compared to those with longer work experience, but at the same time, they reported higher levels of burnout. Women revealed higher scores of burnout-disengagement, but no other differences compared to their male colleagues. Officers who were married or living in a partner relationship obtained lower levels of posttraumatic stress than officers who reported being single, divorced, or widowed. The responsibility of caring for an elderly relative increased psychological distress and PTS levels. In general, exposure to COVID-19 or being at risk of infection had less impact on the officers’ mental health than exposure to traumatic experiences.

In conclusion, as expected, the pandemic is having a stressful effect on police officers, but it is not homogeneous among different groups. Implications for intervention policies are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL) , 2021. p. 111-119
Series
European law enforcement research bulletin, ISSN 2599-5855, E-ISSN 2599-5863
Keywords [en]
posttraumatic stress, psychological distress, burnout, mental health, COVID-19
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
police science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-219877OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-219877DiVA, id: diva2:1830690
Conference
CEPOL Online Research & Science Conference "Pandemic Effects on Law Enforcement Training and Practice", Online, May 5-7, 2021
Note

Softcover: QR-AG-21-001-EN-C

Hardcover: QR-AG-21-101-EN-C, QR-AG-21-001-EN-N

Available from: 2024-01-23 Created: 2024-01-23 Last updated: 2024-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Silva, Teresa C.Löfgren, Hans O.

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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