Hardiness and psychological distress in a cohort of police officers

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2008 Spring;10(2):137-47.


Since police officers are frequently exposed to high stress situations, individual differences in the response to stress and trauma are of interest. We examined the association of hardiness components (commitment, control and challenge) with depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and symptoms of general psychological distress in police officers. The random sample included 105 officers (40 women and 65 men) from the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Police Stress (BCOPS) study baseline visit. Components of hardiness were measured using a 15-item hardiness scale. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D), PTSD symptoms were measured using the impact of events scale (IES), and symptoms of general psychological distress were measured using the Brief Symptoms Inventory (BSI). Associations were assessed using linear regression analysis. Models were adjusted for age, education and marital status. Because of significant gender interactions, analyses were stratified by gender. The hardiness control dimension was significantly and negatively associated with CES-D for both genders but was not associated with IES. Hardiness commitment was significantly and negatively associated with both CES-D and IES in women. Men had negative but non-significant associations for commitment with CES-D and IES. Hardiness commitment was negatively associated with the overall BSI score for both men and women but the association was only significant for men, though the strength of the association was stronger for women. This is likely a result of the impact of the smaller sample size for women. The magnitude of gender differences in these associations shows that for depressive and PTSD symptoms, the commitment dimension of hardiness may be more protective in female police officers than in male officers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality*
  • Police / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires