Quality of Life and Depression in Police Officers: Perspectives from Chinese in Taiwan

  • F. H.-C Chou
  • M.-H. Kuo
  • K.-Y. Tsai
Reference work entry


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.


Police Officer Suicide Rate Physical Component Summary Physical Illness Work Stress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


 disaster-related psychological screening test


health related quality of life


 mental component summary


physical component summary


People’s Republic of China


 posttraumatic stress disorder


Republic of China


12-item short-form health survey


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. H.-C Chou
    • 1
  • M.-H. Kuo
    • 2
  • K.-Y. Tsai
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Community PsychiatryKai-Suan Psychiatric HospitalKaohsiungTaiwan
  2. 2.Community Medicine Research Center and Institute of Public HealthNational Yang-Ming UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Meiho Institute of TechnologyPing Tong countyTaiwan

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