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Correctional Officer Stress | Research

Abstract

Research involving correctional officer stress has increased over the past several decades due to the overall concern of the consequences of stress within the field.  When comparing the body of research for police officers versus correctional officers, it is clear that there is abundance of research for the former than the latter.  Further, advanced stress management programs have yet to be evaluated in a correctional setting, specifically the cognitive-behavioral interventions supplied in medical and athletic settings. The present investigation studied the effects of an adaptive cognitive-behavioral stress management for correctional officers during their academy training and its effect on self-reported stress levels pre-field training, 3-month and 6-month field training time.  Officers were placed into two groups, one of which received the 1-hour CBSM program (focusing on cognitive restructuring, assertion and problem-solving training) and the other that received the standard protocol in academy training.  The officers completed a series of self-reported measures including the Job Stress Survey, Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding and an assessment to determine their knowledge retention of the skills presented in the program.  Results indicated that those in the experimental group’s self-reported job stress severity increased over six months, compared to the control group.  It was suggested that participants tended to present themselves in an overly confident and inaccurate manner, which may have contributed to the subclinical scores on the scales.  Additionally, the experimental group demonstrated decreases on several job stress measures, and increases in phobic anxiety and depression.

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