A Pilot Study Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Cortisol Awakening Response and Health Outcomes among Law Enforcement Officers

ABSTRACT

As first responders who are frequently exposed to job-related trauma, police officers are at an elevated risk of adverse mental and physical health outcomes. Evidence-based approaches to stress reduction are sorely needed to address the complex variety of problems that police officers face. In this pilot study we examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention designed to address police officer stress. A total of 43 police officers completed an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training (MBRT) program, which was designed to improve mindfulness, resilience, stress, health outcomes, and emotional functioning. Using multilevel models we found significant improvement in self-reported mindfulness, resilience, police and perceived stress, burnout, emotional intelligence, difficulties with emotion regulation, mental health, physical health, anger, fatigue, and sleep disturbance. Although there were no significant pre-to-post-MBRT changes in cortisol awakening response (CAR), while controlling for pre-MBRT increase area under the curve (AUCI), change in mental health was a significant predictor of post-AUCI. Implications of these findings and areas for future research are discussed.

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Christopher, M.S., Goerling, R.J., Rogers, B.S. et al. A Pilot Study Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Cortisol Awakening Response and Health Outcomes among Law Enforcement Officers. J Police Crim Psych 31, 15–28 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-015-9161-x

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Keywords

  • Police Officers
  • Stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Resilience