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NCJ Number: 221861 Find in a Library
Title: Efficacy of Written Emotional Expression in the Reduction of Psychological Distress in Police Officers
Journal: International Journal of Police Science & Management  Volume:9  Issue:4  Dated:Winter 2007  Pages:303-311
Author(s): Matt Ireland; John M. Malouff; Brian Byrne
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This Australian study examined the impact on police officers' distress levels of expressing their personal emotions in writing.
Abstract: The findings support written expression of one's emotions as an effective coping method for dealing with stress. Officers who expressed their emotions in writing, compared with those who did not, showed significantly lower levels of anxiety and stress at the conclusion of the study. There was no significant difference between the two groups of officers regarding the trait of openness (i.e., personality trait of talking about one's feelings and thoughts). This suggests that the different outcomes for anxiety levels were linked to the activity of expressing one's feelings and thoughts in a structured writing exercise. Prior research has shown that a similar intervention helped reduce distress in various populations, including university students (Sloan and Marx, 2004; Smyth, 1998). The study involved the random assignment of 67 police officers in a large Australian police force to either the writing intervention or a nonwriting control group. Over a period of 4 work-days, officers in the intervention group wrote for 15 minutes a day about their strong feelings, whether or not they were occasioned by work-related experiences. They were also asked to write about how they planned to cope with their emotions. Both writing and nonwriting groups of officers completed measures of stress, anxiety, and depression before and after the writing intervention. 1 table and 37 references
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress
Index Term(s): Australia; Foreign police; Police management; Police research; Police stress training; Stress management
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