Burn out (Psychology), Correctional personnel, Police


This study builds on the small but growing body of research examining the antecedents and effects of burnout on police and corrections officers. A review of the extant literature on burnout in general and on the literature exploring police and correctional officer burnout in particular identified several variables that contribute to the social-psychological condition of burnout. The variables identified in the literature review were grouped according to biographical factors (gender, race/ethnicity, and age), biographical stressors (marital status and level of education), organizational factors (occupational field, agency size, tenure, and rank), workplace stressors (recent promotions, transfers or discipline, and perceptions of fairness in promotions, discipline, and transfers), or life-event stressors. This study utilized the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS) to assess burnout. The Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) developed by Holmes and Rahe (1996) was used to identify life-event stressors. The sample for this study was drawn from police and correctional officers attending professional development training at a regional criminal justice training center in Central Florida. Of the 577 students surveyed, 417 remained in the sample after duplicates were eliminated. A multi-stage analysis, which included analysis of variance (ANOVA), independent sample t-tests, and ordinary least squared techniques (OLS), was conducted to explore the influences of different correlates of burnout on police and correctional officers. Multiple one-way ANOVA models and independent sample t-tests were run first, followed by several stages of multiple regression analysis. In the initial OLS regression models, only the variables for biographical factors, biographical stressors, and occupational factors were entered in the models. In following stage, workplace stressors were added to the regression models, followed by the addition of life-event stressors into the final regression models. The correlates of burnout found to be most significant included race/ethnicity, agency size, and perceptions of fairness in promotions and discipline. Of the correlates that were significant, race/ethnicity and perceptions of fairness were the most noteworthy, since the data indicated White/Caucasian officers experienced greater levels of burnout than minority officers, a finding that appeared related to an officer's perceptions of fairness in promotions and discipline. In addition, a statistically significant difference in professional efficacy scores was detected between officers from smaller agencies (99 officers or fewer) and officers from the largest agencies (1,000 officers or more). The findings from this study seem to suggest that burnout may be influenced by perceptions of fairness in promotional and disciplinary processes, which may be confounded by an officer's race/ethnicity. To address this matter, police and correctional agency administrators might want to consider designing promotional and disciplinary procedures that stress transparency and emphasize merit-based outcomes rather than equality-based outcomes. With regard to agency size, administrators from small agencies should consider steps that make the job more rewarding to their officers so they are less susceptible to burnout.


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Graduation Date





Holmes, Stephen


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Release Date

May 2012

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic