Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Christopher Berghoff


Police officers encounter stressors as a result of job responsibilities that contribute to high rates of occupational burnout. Defined by three primary components (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and professional inefficacy), burnout is associated with health- and work-related problems among officers. In addition, police agencies incur significant costs associated with burnout due to performance decline and turnover. Officer burnout is also a matter of public interest given that burnout is associated with low prosocial behavior and high use of force. As such, research that aims to explore the formation and maintenance of officer burnout may be consequential for the profession and society at large. At one level, organizational context (e.g., job resources, job demands) broadly accounts for burnout. Yet, substantial variance in burnout remains unexplained within these statistical models, likely due to a failure to account for variation of personal resources at the individual level. One model of personal resources, psychological flexibility, specifies a behavioral skillset that includes openness to experience, behavioral awareness, and valued action. Notably, psychological flexibility independently accounts for variance in self-reported burnout, though no research has identified the contribution of job resources, job demands, and psychological flexibility processes to burnout within a comprehensive statistical network. Accordingly, the present study aimed to specify an integrated model via network analysis of psychological flexibility and burnout within the organizational context of police officers (N = 211) recruited from U.S. police agencies. Several differential associations were identified. Emotional exhaustion was primarily associated with job resources, job demands, and openness to experience. Depersonalization was associated with behavioral awareness and job demands. Professional efficacy was primarily associated with valued action and behavioral awareness. Collectively, the network model suggests police officer burnout is jointly accounted for by organizational context and individual differences of personal resources. Present limitations notwithstanding, police agencies and health professionals seeking to reduce officer burnout may be most effective when combined organizational and individual interventions are implemented. The applicability of this model may be further evaluated using longitudinal and intervention methodologies.

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Psychology | Quantitative Psychology


Burnout, First Responders, Job-Demand Resource Theory, Network Analysis, Police Officers, Psychological Flexibility

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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