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Perceptions of Law Enforcement Officers in Seeking Mental Health Treatment in a Right-to-Work State

ABSTRACT

The high stress environment of law enforcement places officers at risk for a variety of mental and physical health problems; however, officers are reluctant to seek out treatment. The purpose of this study was to identify which factors associated with law enforcement officers had predictive value in the level of stigma perceived in seeking mental health treatment by currently employed, certified peace officers in Arizona. The factors included sex, age, race/ethnicity, years employed as an officer, size of the department, current rank/position within the department, the type of government operating the agency, and payment of union dues. The study included 454 participants. Participation included the completion of demographic data, the Self-Stigma of Seeking Psychological Help (SSOSH), and the Perceptions of Stigmatization by Others for Seeking Help (PSOSH). Using standard multiple regression, the most significant finding was the relationship between the size of the department and levels of stigma (p = .014); such that, the size was inversely related to the levels of perceived stigma. As the agency size increased, the perceptions of stigma decreased. Such a finding has several implications for law enforcement agencies related to preparedness and training.

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White, A.K., Shrader, G. & Chamberlain, J. Perceptions of Law Enforcement Officers in Seeking Mental Health Treatment in a Right-to-Work State. J Police Crim Psych 31, 141–154 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896-015-9175-4

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Keywords

  • law enforcement
  • stigma
  • mental health
  • right-to-work state