Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2018;9:107-12. doi: 10.5958/2394-2061.2018.00020.4. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Exploring the role of compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue in predicting burnout among police officers.

Papazoglou K, Koskelainen M, Stuewe N.


Objective: Prior research on police practices has highlighted the plethora of operational and organisational stressors that police officers face throughout their careers. Work-related demands, acute stress, and lack of organisational support and resources may lead officers to experience burnout, which is characterised by emotional exhaustion, lack of professional efficacy, depersonalisation, and cynicism. Prior research studies have consistently demonstrated burnout’s significant impact on police officers’ mental and physical health, and they have also shown that traumatisation (specifically compassion fatigue) appears to be associated with burnout among police officers. The present study aims to examine the prevalence of burnout among police officers and to identify the association of burnout with compassion fatigue, compassion satisfaction, and years of experience. Setting: Data collection occurred in cooperation with the National Police of Finland, and all officers who may potentially experience work-related trauma were invited to participate. Participants: Study participants were police officers from the National Police of Finland (n=1,173). Main outcome measures: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Test and demographics questions. Results: Data analyses indicated that most study participants (78.03% or n=945) reported low levels of burnout. Moreover, burnout was found to be significantly positively correlated with compassion fatigue (r=0.76; p<0.01) and years of experience (r=0.10; p<0.01), but significantly negatively correlated with compassion satisfaction (r=-0. 49; p<0.01). Furthermore, hierarchical linear regression indicated that years of experience, compassion satisfaction, and compassion fatigue were significant predictors of burnout. Conclusions: Authors discuss various interpretations, implications, and limitations of the current study’s findings, as well as providing recommendations for future research.


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