Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Sarah Bowen

Abstract

Law enforcement personnel (LEPs) experience diverse and substantial stressors (McCraty & Atkinson, 2012; Burke, 1998; Gelderen et al., 2007; Tuckey, Winwood, & Dollard, 2012). These stressors result in significant negative impacts for the personnel themselves (Anshel & Brinthaupt, 2014; Ma et al., 2015; Marmar et al., 2006; Rees & Smith, 2008; Wang et al., 2010) and for society (Arslan, 2010; Rajaratnam et al., 2011; Kligyte, 2013). In order to assess the degree to which these stressors manifest amongst LEPs, biomarkers such as salivary cortisol (Taverniers, Smeets, Ruyssereld, Syroit, & von Grumbkow, 2011) and psychological measures, such as perceived stress (Gershon et al., 2009; Christopher et al., 2015) have been commonly used. Research among the general population shows that dispositional traits such as mindfulness and reactivity to stress moderate the relationship between stressors and stress outcomes (Miller & Chen, 2006; Feizi, Aliyari, & Roohafza, 2012). Additionally, dispositional mindfulness has been shown to negatively predict perceived stress (Zimmaro et al., 2016), mitigate the impact of stressors on negative stress-related outcomes (Chiesa et al., 2012; Marks, Sobanski, & Hine, 2010), and moderate the relationship between stressors and the CAR (Daubenmier, Hayden, Chang, & Epel, 2014). We hypothesize that dispositional mindfulness may be a similarly important protective factor for high-stress occupations such as LEPs.

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