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The effects of a cognitive-behavioural stress intervention on the motivation and psychological wellbeing of senior UK police personnel.

Jones, Jennifer and Turner, Martin and Barker, Jamie (2020) The effects of a cognitive-behavioural stress intervention on the motivation and psychological wellbeing of senior UK police personnel. International Journal of Stress Management, 28 (1). pp. 46-60. ISSN 1072-5245

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Abstract

Police employees in the United Kingdom face increased work demands, against a backdrop of increasing crime rates and continued underfunding, due to the ongoing impact of austerity. Stress and mental illness in policing populations is a major concern for the police themselves, and for the communities they serve. The use of cognitive–behavioral one-to-one coaching (CBC) in critical performance contexts has received scant research attention. But CBC could be particularly useful as a stress-management intervention in highly demanding occupational contexts such as policing. The current study applies a pre–post experimental field design to examine the effect of one-to-one CBC with a sample of 50 senior police personnel in the United Kingdom. Participants received 8 bespoke one-to-one CBC sessions each, and data were collected at preintervention, postintervention, and follow-up phases. Data showed that CBC decreased maladaptive cognitions (irrational beliefs) and increased self-determined motivation and the satisfaction of basic psychological needs (well-being) in senior police personnel. Hair cortisol levels were used to determine changes in stress, but data did not suggest that CBC had a meaningful effect on pre–post cortisol levels. Social validation data indicated that CBC facilitated stress coping and corroborated statistical analyses. The applied issues surrounding the use of CBC in critical performance contexts are discussed, along with guidance for the future use of CBC in applied psychology research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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