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Fatigue and Professional Burnout in Police Officers and Firefighters

NCJ Number
Internal Security Volume: 4 Issue: 2 Dated: July - December 2012 Pages: 265-273
Beata A. Basinska; Izabela Wiciak
Date Published
December 2012
9 pages
This study assessed the relationship between fatigue and burnout in two professional groups with high psychosocial risks.
Excessive demands, work overload and the working time arrangements are on important cause of burnout and fatigue in employees. Specific working time arrangements are characteristic of the internal security services, such as police officers and firefighters. This applies to both the ordering of day and night shifts and the length of shifts. Depletion of personal resources is a common component for acute fatigue and burnout. However, fatigue has a short-term effect, whereas burnout has a chronic effect. The aim of the study presented here is to assess the relationship between fatigue and burnout in two professional groups with high psychosocial risks. The group examined consisted of 174 people, 89 police officers (11 women) and 85 firefighters. Correlational design was used. The Fatigue Scale was applied to measure fatigue at work, and the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory was used to measure exhaustion and disengagement. The results of the study showed that in comparison with firefighters, police officers were more fatigued, more exhausted and more disengaged. Fatigue was related to exhaustion and disengagement. The effective size of the relationship between fatigue and exhaustion and between fatigue and disengagement was similar and moderate in both groups. In conclusion, the differences between police officers and firefighters in fatigue and burnout may be explained by different demands and working time arrangements. Depletion of energy resources is visible in exhaustion and disengagement. The practices of limiting the negative and direct results of work, such as fatigue, may help to prevent the escalation of chronic conditions such as burnout. (Published Abstract)


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