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Defining Stress among Corrections Professionals

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2021
14 pages

This research article examines the high levels of acute and chronic work-related stress experienced by Corrections professionals, and the related impacts on illness, disability, mortality, and healthcare costs.


Corrections professionals experience high levels of acute and chronic work-related stress. This stress leads to increased mental and physical illness, early disability and mortality, and increased healthcare costs. Reducing stress requires identifying and prioritizing factors that contribute to it. Corrections professionals (n = 296) working at six different Oregon Department of Corrections facilities completed a cross-sectional survey, including demographics, work history and validated stress and occupational constructs. The outcome of perceived stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-4 Short Form). Using a linear mixed effects regression model, the authors found that perceived stress increases with increased work-related stress (p = 0.02), work hours (p = 0.03), operational stressors (p = 0.002), and lack of procedural injustice (p = 0.03) and decreases with more time employed at current facility (p = 0.06), improved job satisfaction (p < 0.001), and among married or partnered individuals (p = 0.05). Identifying these predictors of stress can inform the development of policy changes to mitigate the stress of this challenged work force. (Publisher abstract provided)

Date Published: June 1, 2021