Supervisor Support Mediates Police Officer Well-being Tied to Occupational Burnout

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Police officers are exposed to high number of occupational stressors and, as such, experience higher levels of burnout than other professions (Adams & Mastroacci, 2019). Burnout not only impacts job performance (McCarty et al., 2019) but also diminishes well-being among police officers (Santa Maria et al., 2018). Prior research indicates that greater social support is associated with lower rates of burnout (Papazogou et al., 2017). However, the relationship between burnout and officer well-being when supervisor support (i.e., perceived care from captains, lieutenants, sergeants) is accounted for is not well understood. Thus, the current study explored supervisor support as a mediator between burnout and well-being among police officers (N=459) from three geographically distributed agencies. Our results suggest occupational burnout is inversely related to supervisor support (a = -0.16, p < .001), which is, in turn, positively related to higher well-being, b = 0.24, p < .001. Bootstrapped 95% CIs indicate supervisor support mediates the relation between burnout and well-being, ab = -0.04, 95% [-0.07, -0.01]. Perceived supervisor support toward police officers is related to lower levels of burnout and higher levels of well-being. This finding has important implications as it suggests the deleterious effects of burnout may be reduced as a result of organization adjustments that increase levels of supervisor support conveyed in interactions with officers. Future studies should look to evaluate the long-term consequences of increased occupational support within a longitudinal design to identify the temporal effects on police officers.

First Advisor

Christopher Berghoff

Second Advisor

Luke Baker

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