An Exploratory Study on the Effect of an Approach-Avoidance Coping Program on Perceived Stress and Physical Energy among Police Officers


The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the effects of an approach-avoidance coping skills program on changes in perceived stress and physical energy among police officers. Participants included 11 police officers in a medium-sized US city who volunteered to engage in a coping skills program due to experiencing excessive job-related stress. The officers completed an initial 2-hour seminar on approach-avoidance coping skills and met privately with a stress management coach. Analyses indicated reduced use of approach coping strategies that approached significance. Participants reported significantly higher levels of physical energy at posttest compared to pretest. Higher levels of physical energy were also associated with greater use of avoidance coping at posttest. Personal narratives by selected officers indicated a particularly stressful work environment, and that the officers adopted many of the approach and avoidance coping skills in reducing job-related stressors. The results suggest that the approach-avoidance coping framework may be an effective means for managing acute police stress.

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Anshel, M. & Brinthaupt, T. (2014). An Exploratory Study on the Effect of an Approach-Avoidance Coping Program on Perceived Stress and Physical Energy among Police Officers. Psychology, 5, 676-687. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.57079.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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