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The Moderating Effect of Self-Compassion and Dispositional Mindfulness on Police Occupational Stress: Preliminary Results

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Abstract

Preliminary results from an on-going study examining the facets of mindfulness and self-compassion in a sample of Canadian law enforcement officers.
The Moderating Effect of Self-Compassion and Dispositional
Mindfulness on Police Occupational Stress: Preliminary Results
Matthew H. Fleischmann,1Viktoriya Manova,2Melanie Wisener,1& Bassam El-Khoury1
1Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, McGill University
2Department of Psychology, McGill University
Introduction
ØLaw enforcement is a high-stress occupation associated with increased levels of
posttraumatic disorder symptoms1, suicide ideation2, alcohol abuse3, sleep
disorders4, stress, anxiety, and depression5.
Occupational
Stress
Organizational Stressors (e.g., poor supervision,
lack of resources, discrimination)
Operational Stressors (e.g., armed arrest,
interactions with co-workers, high-speed chase)
ØN = 21
ØOnline questionnaire (30 min).
ØSworn officers from two Canadian police departments.
ØMeasures à
Acting with
awareness
Non-Judging
Non-Reactivity
Observing
Describing
Dispositional Mindfulness Five Facets17
ØMBSR has been associated with decreased levels of
perceived stress, depression, and anxiety6,7,8
ØHigher levels of non-judging have been most
commonly associated with decreased symptoms of
depression9,10,11,12
ØNon-reactivity has been associated with decreased
symptoms of anxiety and worrying9,13
Self-Compassion18
ØChronic illness patients; increased self-compassion elicited the use of coping
mechanisms, which decreased perceived stress15
Dispositional Mindfulness Facets & Police Research
ØMindfulness-Based Resilience Training (MBRT) was designed for police
officers to build resilience to acute/chronic occupational stressors11,16
ØWhich specific facets of mindfulness influence outcomes of MBRT?
ØBergman et al. (2016): Non-judging = Stress from Op.stressors
Acting with awareness =Stress from Org. stressors.
ØDo self-compassion and facets of dispositional mindfulness moderate the
relationship between occupational stressors and perceived stress, anxiety
and depression?
1. The facet of non-reactivity will moderate the relationship between experience
of occupational stressors and perceived stress for symptoms of anxiety (i.e. the
DASS-21 anxiety subscale).
2. The facet of non-judging will moderate the relationship between experiencing
occupational stressors and perceived stress for symptoms of depression (i.e. the
DASS-21 depression subscale).
3. Self-compassion and dispositional mindfulness will moderate the relationship
between occupational stressors and perceived stress.
Research Questions
Sociodemographic Questionnaire
Self-Kindness
Common
Humanity Mindfulness
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Low Mean Hi gh
DASS -Stress
PSQ -Operational
Acting With Awareness
Low
Mean
High
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
Low Mean Hi gh
DASS -Stress
PSQ -Operational
Non-Judging
Lo w
Me an
Hig h
Hypotheses
Do self-compassion and facets of dispositional mindfulness moderate the
relationship between occupational stressors and perceived stress, anxiety and
depression?
Moderator levels 95% Confidence Interval
Non-Judging
Estimate
SE
Lower
Upper
t
p
Mean
.59
.16
.25
.93
3.66
.002
.36
.09
.17
.54
3.94
.001
.12
.10
-
.08
.32
1.30
.210
Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire
Police Stress Questionnaire Organizational
Self-Compassion Scale (Short-Form)
Police Stress Questionnaire Operational
Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale -21
Life Events Checklist
ØNon-Judging (NJ) moderated the
relationship between PSQ-Op and DASS
stress scores.
ØThe relationship between PSQ-Op and
DASS stress was only significant at low
and average levels of NJ.
Moderator levels 95% Confidence Interval
Acting with Awareness
Estimate
SE
Lower
Upper
t
p
Mean
1SD
.38
.13
.10
.64
2.92
.01
Mean
.24
.09
.06
.43
2.79
.01
Mean + 1SD
.11
.10
-
.08
.30
1.21
.24
ØDASS anxiety and depression scores were excluded from the
regression analysis due to abnormal distribution.
ØAfter computing a simple linear regression analysis, only PSQ-Op
(p= .015) was a statistically significant predictor of DASS stress
scores. PSQ-Org (p = .856) was not.
ØActing with Awareness (AWA)
moderated the relationship between PSQ-
Op and DASS stress scores.
ØThe relationship between PSQ-Op and
DASS stress was only significant at low
and average levels of AWA.
Method
Results
Discussion
References
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consequences in a sample of police officers. Wo rk an d S t re s s , 13(4), 312-325.
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C., Harvard Work Hours, Health and Safety Group. (2011). Sleep disorders, health, and safety in police officers. Jama, 306(23), 2567-78.
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.
ØOur results replicated Bergman et al. (2016) findings about non-judgment’s
moderating effect, but contrary to their findings, we found that acting with
awareness was beneficial to operational, rather than organizational stressors.
ØIt may be that acting with awareness and non-judgment act as protective
factors when experiencing stress related to tasks that are inherent to police
work (e.g., negative interactions with public, violent instances), but are not
beneficial when dealing with organizational stressors.
ØThe results inform the design of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
and Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training (MBRT) interventions for police
officers.
ØE.g., prior screening for dispositional mindfulness and occupational stress to
adapt the intervention to each profile.
Limitations and future directions
ØSmall sample size: further recruitment and a larger sample size will increase
the statistical power and will yield more accurate results.
ØDepartment-specific results: future studies should analyze differences and
similarities between various police departments in the sample.
ØMBSR/MBRT: further investigation of the effectiveness of a mindfulness
training for police officers who are low on AWA, or NJ.
Figure 1. The simple slopes of operational stress (PSQ-Op) predicting
scores on the DASS stress scale, at low (-1 SD), average (mean), and
high (+ 1 SD) scores of non-judging (NJ).
Figure 1. The simple slopes of operational stress (PSQ-Op) predicting
scores on the DASS stress scale, at low (-1 SD), average (mean), and
high (+ 1 SD) scores of acting with awareness (AWA).
ALL
ANALYSES
p < .05
PSQ-Op
PSQ
-
Org
DASS
Stress .60 .324
Pearson Correlations
1. Non-judging moderated the relationship between operational stressors and
perceived stress. At high levels of non-judging, the relationship was no longer
significant.
2. Acting with awareness moderated the relationship between operational
stressors and perceived stress. At high levels of acting with awareness, the
relationship was no longer significant.
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