Burnout, job stress and coping in the South African Police Service in the Limpopo Province
Nortje, Christiaan Frederick
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The objectives of this study were to investigate the relationship between burnout, job stress and coping in a sample of police officers. A further objective was to test a causal model of burnout, job stress and coping. A survey design was used to reach these objectives. The study population (N = 192) consisted of police personnel in the Limpopo Province. All police members at randomly identified small stations (fewer than 25 staff members) and medium stations (25- 100 staff members) in each of the policing areas were asked to complete the questionnaires. In the large stations (more than 100 staff members) stratified random samples were taken according to race and sex. Three questionnaires were used in the empirical study, namely the Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MBI-GS), the Police Stress Inventory (PSI) and the COPE Questionnaire (COPE). From the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, definite correlations were found between exhaustion, job demands and lack of resources. Cynicism correlated with exhaustion, job demands and an avoidance coping style. However, professional efficacy did not correlate with any of the other dimensions. The results of the canonical correlations indicated that job demands, avoidance coping and low levels of emotional support are associated with high levels of exhaustion and cynicism, and lower levels of professional efficacy. The canonical analysis also showed that a high level of lack of resources and lower levels of job demands and police stressors are associated with exhaustion and professional efficacy. Structural equation modelling (SEM) methods as implemented by AMOS were used to construct a causal model of burnout. The results showed that job demands (as stressors) are associated with exhaustion. Passive coping strategies contributed to exhaustion and lower levels of professional efficacy, while seeking emotional support led to lower exhaustion. Job demands did not directly contribute to cynicism, but it seems to have an impact on cynicism through exhaustion. A lack of resources, active coping strategies and not coping passively seem to impact on professional efficacy. A lack of resources is also associated with feelings of cynicism. Recommendations for future research were made.
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