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Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

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Committee Chair

Michael S. Christopher, PhD

Second Advisor

Sarah Bowen, PhD

Abstract

Law enforcement personnel (LEPs) experience various occupational stressors, which often result in significant negative personal and societal effects. Biomarkers such as salivary cortisol, and psychological measures such as perceived stress, have been used to assess the impact of these stressors on LEPs. Additionally, dispositional mindfulness has been shown to negatively predict perceived stress and to moderate the relationship between stressors and negative stress-related outcomes, such as the cortisol awakening response (CAR). In this study, we investigated whether facets of dispositional mindfulness moderate the relationships between occupational stressors and physiological and psychological stress in a sample of LEPs. As predicted, nonjudging significantly moderated the relationship between organizational stressors and perceived stress and nonreactivity significantly moderated the relationship between operational stressors and perceived stress. Additionally, nonreactivity moderated the relationship between organizational stressors and the CAR; however, the interaction was in the opposite of expected direction. We also found a significant interaction between nonjudging and nonreactivity in the prediction of perceived stress, indicating that perceived stress is highest when both of these facets of mindfulness are low.

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