Burnout, stress and coping in the South African Police Service in Gauteng
De Jager, Lynn-Mari
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Since its transformation in1 994 the South African Police Service (SAPS) has undergone large scale changes. In South Africa, Gauteng is one of the most prominent crime areas, reflecting the highest crime rate throughout the country. The escalation in crime has lead to the increase in traumatic incidences. Due to these incidences plus inadequate resources, a high incidence of trauma amongst police members is consequently reflected, as well as increased rates of suicide. These prolonged stressors that police members are subjected to over lengthy periods of time coupled with inadequate coping strategies can lead to individuals within the SAPS within Gauteng, experiencing burnout. Burnout is a syndrome consisting of three dimensions: They are exhaustion, which refers to the depletion and draining of emotional resources, feelings of being overextended and cynicism. Cynicism reflects a negative, cynical and callous attitude towards recipients, and / or extreme, detached responses to aspects pertaining to the job and lack of professional efficacy, which is the tendency to evaluate aspects negatively in regard to personal accomplishments and competence at work. Burnout in the human service industry is a particular growing phenomenon. The objective of this research was to determine the relationship between burnout, stress and coping of employees of the SAPS in Gauteng. A stratified random sample (N = 234) was taken of uniformed members of the SAPS in Gauteng. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey, COPE and Police Stress Inventory were used as measuring instruments. Pearson-product correlation coefficients, t-tests, analysis of variance and canonical correlations were used to analyse the data. The results showed that stressors namely job demands, lack of resources and police stressors were associated with exhaustion, cynicism and low professional efficacy. Job demands, lack of resources and police stressors were associated with problem-focused coping. Passive coping strategies were associated with lack of social support, exhaustion, cynicism and low professional efficacy. Recommendations for future research were made.