Policing is widely considered to be one of the most stressful occupations, wherein organizational and operational stressors put law enforcement officers’ (LEO) physical and mental health at risk. This stress is often experienced within a context of excessive anger, which decreases officer well-being and has the potential to negatively impact public well-being as well. Police officers are often left to manage stress and anger in a cultural context that does not support help-seeking behavior and that encourages maladaptive coping mechanisms. The current study examined whether increases in facets of mindfulness accounted for reductions in these outcomes. Results demonstrated that discrete facets of mindfulness accounted for significant differential variance in the reduction of organizational stress, operational stress, and anger. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Abernathy, A. D. (1995). The development of an anger management training program for law enforcement personnel. In R. Lawrence, J. Joseph, S. L. Sauter, & G. P. Keita (Eds.), Job stress interventions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Alpert, G., & Rojek, J. (2011). Frontline police officer assessments of risk and decision making during encounters with offenders (Briefing paper issue 5). Queensland: ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security.
Anshel, M. H. (2000). A conceptual model and implications for coping with stressful events in police work. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 27, 375–400.
Arnetz, B. B., Nevedal, D. C., Lumley, M. A., Backman, L., & Lublin, A. (2009). Trauma resilience training for police: psychophysiological and performance effects. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 24(1), 1–9.
Arslan, C. (2010). An investigation of anger and anger expression in terms of coping with stress and interpersonal problem-solving. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 10(1), 25–43.
Ask, K., & Pina, A. (2011). On being angry and punitive: how anger alters perception of criminal intent. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1948550611398415.
Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27–45.
Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., Walsh, E., Duggan, D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2008). Construct validity of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and nonmeditating samples. Assessment, 15(3), 329–342.
Barrett, E. L., Mills, K. L., & Teesson, M. (2013). Mental health correlates of anger in the general population: findings from the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 0004867413476752.
Boden, M. T., Bernstein, A., Walser, R. D., Bui, L., Alvarez, J., & Bonn-Miller, M. O. (2012). Changes in facets of mindfulness and posttraumatic stress disorder treatment outcome. Psychiatry Research, 200(2), 609–613.
Bohlmeijer, E., Peter, M., Fledderus, M., Veehof, M., & Baer, R. (2011). Psychometric properties of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire in depressed adults and development of a short form. Assessment, 18(3), 308–320.
Burke, R. J. (1994). Stressful events, work-family conflict, coping, psychological burnout, and well-being among police officers. Psychological Reports, 75(2), 787–800.
Cash, M., & Whittingham, K. (2010). What facets of mindfulness contribute to psychological well-being and depressive, anxious, and stress-related symptomatology? Mindfulness, 1(3), 177–182.
Cella, D., Yount, S., Rothrock, N., Gershon, R., Cook, K., Reeve, B., & Rose, M. (2007). The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS): progress of an NIH Roadmap cooperative group during its first two years. Medical care, 45(5 Suppl 1), S3.
Christopher, M. S., Goerling, R. J., Rogers, B. S., Hunsinger, M., Baron, G., Bergman, A. L., & Zava, D. T. (2015). A pilot study evaluating the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention on cortisol awakening response and health outcomes among law enforcement officers. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 1-14.
Christopher, M. S., Neuser, N. J., Michael, P. G., & Baitmangalkar, A. (2012). Exploring the psychometric properties of the Five Facet 987 Mindfulness Questionnaire. Mindfulness, 3, 124–131. doi:10.1007/988s12671-011-0086-x.
Cougle, J. R., Zvolensky, M. J., & Hawkins, K. A. (2013). Delineating a relationship between problematic anger and cigarette smoking: a population-based study. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 15(1), 297–301.
Curtiss, J., & Klemanski, D. H. (2014). Factor analysis of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in a heterogeneous clinical sample. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 36(4), 683–694.
de Bruin, E. I., Topper, M., Muskens, J. G., Bögels, S. M., & Kamphuis, J. H. (2012). Psychometric properties of the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) in a meditating and a non-meditating sample. Assessment, 19(2), 187–197.
De Vibe, M., Bjørndal, A., Tipton, E., Hammerstrøm, K. T., Kowalski, K., & Bjørndal, A. (2012). Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) for improving health, quality of. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 8(3).
Deffenbacher, J. L., Filetti, L. B., Lynch, R. S., Dahlen, E. R., & Oetting, E. R. (2002). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of high anger drivers. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40(8), 895–910.
Denson, T. F., Moulds, M. L., & Grisham, J. R. (2012). The effects of analytical rumination, reappraisal, and distraction on anger experience. Behavior Therapy, 43(2), 355–364.
Eberth, J., & Sedelmier, P. (2012). The effects of mindfulness meditation: a meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 3, 174–189.
Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Walsh, E. C., Charnigo, R. J., Lynam, D. R., & Baer, R. A. (2012). The “what” and the “how” of dispositional mindfulness: using interactions among subscales of the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire to understand its relation to substance use. Assessment, 19(3), 276–286. 1073191112446658.
Fix, R. L., & Fix, S. T. (2013). The effects of mindfulness-based treatments for aggression: a critical review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(2), 219–227.
Fox, J., Desai, M. M., Britten, K., Lucas, G., Luneau, R., & Rosenthal, M. S. (2012). Mental-health conditions, barriers to care, and productivity loss among officers in an urban police department. Connecticut medicine, 76(9), 525.
Gelderen, B., Heuven, E., Veldhoven, M., Zeelenberg, M., & Croon, M. (2007). Psychological strain and emotional labor among police-officers: a diary study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 71, 446–459.
Gersons, B. P., Carlier, I. V., Lamberts, R. D., & van der Kolk, B. A. (2000). Randomized clinical trial of brief eclectic psychotherapy for police officers with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13(2), 333–347.
Gerzina, M. A., & Drummond, P. (2000). A multimodal cognitive-behavioural approach to anger reduction in an occupational sample. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73(2), 181–194.
Greeson, J. M., Webber, D. M., Smoski, M. J., Brantley, J. G., Ekblad, A. G., Suarez, E. C., & Wolever, R. Q. (2011). Changes in spirituality partly explain health-related quality of life outcomes after mindfulness-based stress reduction. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 34(6), 508–518.
Hartley, T. A., Burchfiel, C. M., Fekedulegn, D., Andrew, M. E., & Violanti, J. M. (2011). Health disparities in police officers: Comparisons to the US general populations. International journal of emergency mental health, 13(4), 211.
Heppner, W. L., Kernis, M. H., Lakey, C. E., Campbell, W. K., Goldman, B. M., Davis, P. J., & Cascio, E. V. (2008). Mindfulness as a means of reducing aggressive behavior: dispositional and situational evidence. Aggressive Behavior, 34(5), 486–496.
Ilie, A., Penney, L. M., Ispas, D., & Iliescu, D. (2012). The role of trait anger in the relationship between stressors and counterproductive work behaviors: convergent findings from multiple studies and methodologies. Applied Psychology, 61(3), 415–436.
Juniper, B., White, N., & Bellamy, P. (2010). A new approach to evaluating the well-being of police. Occupational Medicine, 60, 560–565. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqq130.
Kabat-Zin, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York, NY: Delta Publishing.
Kelley, T. M., & Lambert, E. G. (2012). Mindfulness as a potential means of attenuating anger and aggression for prospective criminal justice professionals. Mindfulness, 3(4), 261–274.
Kligyte, V., Connelly, S., Thiel, C., & Devenport, L. (2013). The influence of anger, fear, and emotion regulation on ethical decision making. Human Performance, 26(4), 297–326.
Lilja, J. L., Lundh, L. G., Josefsson, T., & Falkenström, F. (2013). Observing as an essential facet of mindfulness: a comparison of FFMQ patterns in meditating and non- meditating individuals. Mindfulness, 4(3), 203–212.
Maan Diong, S., Bishop, G. D., Enkelmann, H. C., Tong, E. M., Why, Y. P., Ang, J. C., & Khader, M. (2005). Anger, stress, coping, social support and health: modeling the relationships. Psychology & Health, 20(4), 467–495.
Marmar, C. R., McCaslin, S. E., Metzler, T. J., Best, S., Weiss, D. S., & Neylan, T. (2006). Predictors of posttraumatic stress in police and other first responders. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1071(1), 1–18.
McCraty, R., & Atkinson, M. (2012). Resilience training program reduces physiological and psychological stress in police officers. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 1, 42–64.
McCreary, D. R., & Thompson, M. M. (2006). Development of two reliable and valid measures of stressors in policing: The operational and organizational police stress questionnaires. International Journal of Stress Management, 13(4), 494.
Meffert, S. M., Metzler, T. J., Henn‐Haase, C., McCaslin, S., Inslicht, S., Chemtob, C., & Marmar, C. R. (2008). A prospective study of trait anger and PTSD symptoms in police. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21(4), 410–416.
Menard, K. S., & Arter, M. L. (2013). Police officer alcohol use and trauma symptoms: associations with critical incidents, coping, and social stressors. International Journal of Stress Management, 20, 37–56.
Miller, L. (2006). Practical police psychology: stress management and crisis intervention for law enforcement. Springfield, IL: Thomas.
Neale-Lorello, D., & Haaga, D. A. (2015). The “Observing” facet of mindfulness moderates stress/symptom relations only among meditators. Mindfulness, 6(25), 1–6.
Ortner, C. N., & Zelazo, P. D. (2014). Responsiveness to a mindfulness manipulation predicts affect regarding an anger-provoking situation. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 46(2), 117.
Owen, J. M. (2011). Transdiagnostic cognitive processes in high trait anger. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(2), 193–202.
Painuly, N., Sharan, P., & Mattoo, S. K. (2007). Antecedents, concomitants and consequences of anger attacks in depression. Psychiatry Research, 153(1), 39–45.
Patterson, G., Chung, I., & Swan, P. G. (2012). The effects of stress management interventions among police officers and recruits. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 8(7).
Peters, J. R., Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Upton, B. T., & Baer, R. A. (2013). Nonjudgment as a moderator of the relationship between present-centered awareness and borderline features: synergistic interactions in mindfulness assessment. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(1), 24–28.
Rajaratnam, S. W., Brager, L. K., Lockley, S. W., Shea, S. A., Wang, W., Landrigan, C. P., & Czeisler, C. A. (2011). Sleep disorders, health and safety in police officers. Journal of the American Medical Association, 306, 2567–2578.
Ranta, R. S. (2009). Management of stress and coping behaviour of police personnel through Indian psychological techniques. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 35(1), 47–53.
Rees, B., & Smith, J. (2008). Breaking the silence: the traumatic circle of policing. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 10, 267–279. doi:10.1350/ijps.2008.10.3.83.
Rhodes, R. D., Harrison, D. W., & Demarre, H. A. (2002). Hostility as a moderator of physical reactivity and recovery to stress. International Journal of Neuroscience, 112(2), 167–186.
Rodriguez Vega, B., Melero-Llorente, J., Bayon Perez, C., Cebolla, S., Mira, J., Valverde, C., & Fernández-Liria, A. (2014). Impact of mindfulness training on attentional control and anger regulation processes for psychotherapists in training. Psychotherapy Research, 24(2), 202–213.
Schaubroeck, J., Jones, J. R., & Xie, J. L. (2001). Individual differences in utilizing control to cope with job demands: effects on susceptibility to infectious disease. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(2), 265.
Seip, E. C., Van Dijk, W. W., & Rotteveel, M. (2014). Anger motivates costly punishment of unfair behavior. Motivation and Emotion, 38(4), 578–588.
Shane, J. M. (2010). Organizational stressors and police performance. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38, 807–818. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2010.05.008.
Shipley, P., & Branski, J. V. (2002). Police officer performance under stress: a pilot study on the effects of visuo-motor behavior rehearsal. International Journal of Stress Management, 9(2), 71–80.
Shonin, E., Van Gordon, W., Slade, K., & Griffiths, M. D. (2013). Mindfulness and other Buddhist-derived interventions in correctional settings: a systematic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18(3), 365–372.
Shorey, R. C., Seavey, A. E., Quinn, E., & Cornelius, T. L. (2014). Partner-specific anger management as a mediator of the relation between mindfulness and female perpetrated dating violence. Psychology of violence, 4(1), 51.
Siddle, R., Jones, F., & Awenat, F. (2003). Group cognitive behaviour therapy for anger: a pilot study. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 31(01), 69–83.
Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Karazsia, B. T., Winton, A. S., Singh, J., & Wahler, R. G. (2014). Shenpa and compassionate abiding: mindfulness-based practices for anger and aggression by individuals with schizophrenia. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 12(2), 138–152.
Smith, T. W., Glazer, K., Ruiz, J. M., & Gallo, L. C. (2004). Hostility, anger, aggressiveness, and coronary heart disease: an interpersonal perspective on personality, emotion, and health. Journal of Personality, 72(6), 1217–1270.
Spears, C. A., Houchins, S. C., Stewart, D. W., Chen, M., Correa-Fernández, V., Cano, M. Á., … & Wetter, D. W. (2015). Nonjudging facet of mindfulness predicts enhanced smoking cessation in Hispanics. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, e-Pub 5/2015.
Sprague, J., Verona, E., Kalkhoff, W., & Kilmer, A. (2011). Moderators and mediators of the stress-aggression relationship: executive function and state anger. Emotion, 11(1), 61.
Stanley, E. A., & Jha, A. P. (2009). Mind fitness: improving operational effectiveness and building warrior resilience. Joint Force Quarterly: JFQ, 55, 144.
Tomfohr, L. M., Pung, M. A., Mills, P. J., & Edwards, K. (2015). Trait mindfulness is associated with blood pressure and interleukin-6: exploring interactions among subscales of the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire to better understand relationships between mindfulness and health. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38(1), 28–38.
Tuckey, M. R., Winwood, P. C., & Dollard, M. F. (2012). Psychosocial culture and pathways to psychological injuries within policing. Police Practice and Research, 13(3), 224–240. doi:10.1080/15614263.2011.574072.
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (January, 2014). Police and detectives: occupational outlook handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and- detectives.htm
Van Gelderen, B. R., Bakker, A. B., Konijn, E. A., & Demerouti, E. (2011). Daily suppression of discrete emotions during the work of police service workers and criminal investigation officers. Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 24(5), 515–537.
Wang, Z., Inslicht, S. S., Metzler, T. J., Henn-Haase, C., McCaslin, S. E., 1247 … & Marmar, C. R. (2010). A prospective study of predictors of 1248 depressive symptoms in police. Psychiatry Research, 175, 211- 1249 216.doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.11.010
Waters, J. A., & Ussery, W. (2007). Police stress: history, contributing factors, symptoms and interventions. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 30, 169–188.
Whiting, D., & Bryant, R. A. (2007). Role of appraisals in expressed anger after trauma. Clinical Psychologist, 11(1), 33–36.
Wright, S., Day, A., & Howells, K. (2009). Mindfulness and the treatment of anger problems. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 14(5), 396–401.
About this article
Cite this article
Bergman, A.L., Christopher, M.S. & Bowen, S. Changes in Facets of Mindfulness Predict Stress and Anger Outcomes for Police Officers. Mindfulness 7, 851–858 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0522-z
- Law enforcement