Assessment of Stress, Burnout, and Resilience in Correctional Officers

Grant Winners

  • Vincent B. Van Hasselt Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Ryan Black, Ph.D. – Center for Psychological Studies
  • Vera Lopez, B.S. – Center for Psychological Studies

Dean

  • Karen Grosby, Ed.D. – Center for Psychological Studies

Abstract

Award Winners

Correctional Officers comprise a select group of sworn and non-sworn responders who form the hub of emergency response activity in correctional settings. Research shows that their work is characterized by numerous psychological stressors that vary by degree and intensity, which can lead to less than satisfactory job performance and, ultimately, job burnout. Despite the increased attention directed to the problem of occupational stress over the past several years, few investigative endeavors have focused on correctional officer stress and resilience. The purpose of the proposed study is to: (1) identify and measure salient sources of operational and organizational stress in correctional officers; (2) determine the extent to which individual resilience acts as a protective factor against job stress and burn-out; (3) promote stress reducing and coping strategies; and (4) suggest directions for future research. Approximately 200 correctional officers from the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) will participate in this study by completing a battery of stress-related questionnaires. By identifying specific individual characteristics that protect correctional staff against job burnout, it is expected that more efficacious approaches can be identified to enhance stress reduction and management. It is anticipated that this project will yield important findings that will be of interest to both criminal justice and mental health professionals working in correctional settings.