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Cortisol as Mediator of Mindfulness Training for Aggression and Burnout Among Law Enforcement Officers

18 June 2019


Law enforcement officers (LEOs) face significant occupational stress as a regular aspect of their job and as a result are at increased risk for negative health outcomes, such as aggression and burnout. Salivary cortisol has been identified as a link between environmental stressors and aggression and burnout, and is often abnormally elevated among LEOs. Despite a clear need, studies of interventions for aggression, burnout, and cortisol among LEOs are lacking. Mindfulness training (MT) interventions have shown efficacy in reducing abnormally elevated salivary cortisol, aggression, and burnout in non-LEO populations. Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training (MBRT) is a preventive intervention developed for LEOs to reduce negative outcomes, and has demonstrated preliminary efficacy in reducing aggression and burnout in this population. The purpose of this study was to assess the role of reduced cortisol awakening response (CAR) in mediating the relationship between MBRT and improved aggression and burnout in a sample of LEOs. Results failed to provide evidence of CAR as a mediator in the proposed model, and baseline correlations revealed no significant relationship between CAR and either burnout or aggression. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.


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