Handbook of Disease Burdens and Quality of Life Measures pp 3541-3556 | Cite as
Quality of Life and Depression in Police Officers: Perspectives from Chinese in Taiwan
Police officers tend to experience more stress than individuals in other occupations due to the nature of the work they perform. In Taiwan, there are about 70,000 police officers. Over 95% of police officers are male, and their average age is about 40 years old. Their work stress includes demands for efficiency, heavy workloads, long working hours, job insecurity and various uncertainties about demonstrations, dangerous missions, job rotation or work mobility. Taiwan’s policemen experience many stressors that can be divided into personal, internal structural, work-related, and external factors. There have been many demonstrations against President Chen’s government since 2000. Consequently, police officers have experienced increased workloads as a result of elections and these demonstrations.
The predictors of depression in Taiwan’s police officers are family problems and job stressors. Surprisingly, research has demonstrated that divorce or separation may not predict depression. As we know, depression is highly negatively correlated with quality of life. Accordingly, research has shown that police officers with depression have significantly lower quality of life scores across domains on the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) than do police officers without depression. This pattern holds true regardless of physical health status. Those with physical illness show lower scores on the subscales of physical illness, bodily pain, general health, and the physical component summary (PCS). In the group of police officers without depression, those with physical illness also had lower scores on the subscale of mental health. Depression was also significantly negatively correlated with the physical domain of SF-12, regardless of physical illness.
Modifying the workload, altering the management climate, and developing techniques for mitigating stressors, both within the department and between individuals could improve police officers’ work environment. If the police department offered mental health services to officers at risk for depression, the overall performance of the department might improve.
KeywordsPolice Officer Suicide Rate Physical Component Summary Physical Illness Work Stress
List of Abbreviations:
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