Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 67–77 | Cite as

Depressive Symptoms Among Police Officers: Associations with Personality and Psychosocial Factors

  • Emily N. JenkinsEmail author
  • Penelope Allison
  • Kim Innes
  • John M. Violanti
  • Michael E. Andrew


Protective psychosocial factors may reduce the risk of stress-related illnesses in policing. We assessed the association between protective factors and depressive symptoms among 242 police officers. Participants were from the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) Study (2004–2014). Coping, hardiness, personality traits, and social support were assessed at baseline. Depressive symptoms were measured at baseline and follow-up using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale. The relationship between protective factors and the rate of change in depressive symptoms was assessed using linear regression. Logistic regression evaluated associations between protective factors and new-onset depression. Of participants free of depression at baseline, 23 (10.7%) developed probable depression during the follow-up. Odds of new-onset depression increased with increasing neuroticism (adjusted odds ratio [ORADJ] = 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11–1.35) and passive coping (ORADJ = 2.07, 95% CI, 1.06–4.03). Increasing agreeableness (ORADJ = 0.87, 95% CI, 0.78–0.96) and conscientiousness (ORADJ = 0.90, 95% CI, 0.84–0.98) were associated with decreased odds of new-onset depression. New-onset depression was not significantly associated with other coping subscales, hardiness, or social support. There were no significant associations between protective factors and change in depressive symptom scores. This study suggests certain personality characteristics and passive coping may be associated with increased odds of new-onset depression in police officers.


Depression Personality Hardiness Coping Police officers 



This work was supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health contract number 200-2003-01580 and grant number 1R01OH009640-01A1.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biostatistics and Epidemiology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory DivisionNational Institute for Occupational Safety and HealthMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at BuffaloState University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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