Occupational Health Science

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 67–82 | Cite as

On Guard: The Costs of Work-Related Hypervigilance in the Correctional Setting

  • Charlotte FritzEmail author
  • Leslie B. Hammer
  • Frankie Guros
  • Brittnie R. Shepherd
  • David MeierEmail author
Original Paper


Employees in security-related occupations are expected to be alert and on guard at work in order to stay safe and complete their work tasks (e.g., police, military, corrections). This study introduces the concept of work-related hypervigilance (WHV) as an experience at work that sustains cognitive and physiological activation among employees and is associated with strain outcomes and lower well-being. It was hypothesized that WHV would be associated with greater strain outcomes (i.e., exhaustion and p hysical health symptoms), work-to-family conflict, and impaired sleep. Data were collected from 1317 security staff working in 14 state correctional facilities in the Northwestern United States. Results indicated that WHV was positively related to exhaustion, physical health symptoms, and work-to-family conflict. Further, WHV was negatively related to sleep quantity and quality. Overall, the results support the proposition that WHV is an important employee experience that warrants further examination. Practical and theoretical implications and future research directions are discussed.


Work-related hypervigilance Correctional officers Work-to-family conflict Sleep Strain 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Oregon Institute of Occupational Health SciencesOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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