purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the effects of an
approach-avoidance coping skills program on changes in perceived stress and
physical energy among police officers. Participants included 11 police officers
in a medium-sized US city who volunteered to engage in a coping skills program
due to experiencing excessive job-related stress. The officers completed an
initial 2-hour seminar on approach-avoidance coping skills and met privately
with a stress management coach. Analyses indicated reduced use of approach
coping strategies that approached significance. Participants reported
significantly higher levels of physical energy at posttest compared to pretest.
Higher levels of physical energy were also associated with greater use of avoidance
coping at posttest. Personal narratives by selected officers indicated a
particularly stressful work environment, and that the officers adopted many of
the approach and avoidance coping skills in reducing job-related stressors. The
results suggest that the approach-avoidance coping framework may be an
effective means for managing acute police stress.
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