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Am J Community Psychol. 1979 Dec;7(6):593-603.

Helping police officers to cope with stress: a cognitive--behavioral approach.


Police Academy trainees participated in a stress management program which focused on developing skills for coping with anxiety and anger. Stress management training took place in six 2-hour sessions and included instruction and practice in the self-monitoring of reactions to stressful situations, muscular relaxation, and the development of adaptive self-statements. Self-report measures of anxiety and anger were obtained before and after the stress management program. In addition, self and observer ratings of trainees' performance in stressful simulated police activities were utilized as posttreatment dependent measures. In comparison to a control group of trainees, the performance of the treatment group was rated, by academy personnel, as superior in several of the simulated police activities. The results of the present study suggest that stress management with law enforcement officers may be most effective when the program focuses on the specific situations which are likely to be encountered by trainees. Limitations of the present program are examined and suggestions for future efforts with law enforcement personnel are discussed.

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