Virtual Special Issue: Officer Wellness

Policing: An International Journal

This virtual special issue on Officer Wellness contains ten recently published articles that cover five diverse countries (Canada, China, India, South Korea, and the United States). In this vein, it provides an advanced and up-to-date scholarly exploration of causes, correlates, and consequences of officer wellness and related factors.

The virtual special issue begins with four articles focusing on the different elements of psychological wellbeing. In the first article, Agrawal and Mahajan report that family cohesion ‒ the level of emotional bond and togetherness perceived by the family members ‒ decreases family-to-work conflict and enhances family-to-work enrichment among police officers in India. Comparatively, in a study of U.S. canine handlers, Abraham and colleagues demonstrate that the handlers’ stress could negatively affect the team’s abilities. Zooming in on racial differences in exhaustion and depersonalization, Powell and Schuck uncover that these differences are to a significant extent explained by work-related factors. The fourth article focuses on the consequences of psychological wellness where Chung and colleagues report that loneliness, mediated by anxiety and less happiness, is associated with Korean police officers’ performance and organizational citizenship behavior.

Several papers in this virtual special issue that follow explore the role that police organizations play in maintaining police officer wellness. In the first paper, Smith and colleagues examine the influence of perceived organizational support expressed by Canadian police officers on negative attitudes toward the organization (i.e., cynicism), reaction toward the workplace stressors (i.e., stress), and burnout (i.e., emotional exhaustion). Chen and colleagues further explore the role of the police organization, particularly supervisor procedural justice, on Chinese police officers’ COVID-19 associated negative effects (e.g., reduced income, increased workload) and positive effects (e.g., improved family relations, fewer unnecessary social gatherings). Finally, Quick investigates factors related to the police officers’ willingness to use the police agency’s employee assistance program and recommend it to fellow police officers.  

The job of a police officer is considered to be one of the most dangerous occupations. The last three articles in this virtual special issue examine the ensuing challenges related to officer wellness. Haoran and colleagues analyze the motivation and premeditation of individuals who engage in violent attacks against Chinese police officers. Violanti and colleagues determine that COVID-19 was a serious challenge for U.S. policing ‒ COVID-19 caused close to two-thirds of all duty-related police fatalities in 2020. In the last article of this virtual special issue, Violanti identifies the mental health crisis and associated job problems as some of the factors related to the existence of police suicide cluster groups. Ultimately, the articles in this virtual special issue provide an excellent and authoritative source on research on officer wellness, and offer guidance for this research agenda going forward.    

The papers listed below will be free to access from 22nd of May to 22nd June 2023

Professor Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovich and Professor Wesley G. Jennings 

Editors-in-Chief, Policing: An International Journal 


Table of Contents

The relationship between family cohesion, family-work conflict, enrichment and psychological health of Indian police 

Monika Agrawal and Ritika Mahajan  


Canine/handler relationships: a descriptive mixed-methods analysis of handlers' well-being and stress  

Sarah Abraham, Frances P. Abderhalden and Matthew C. Matusiak  


Examining explanations for differences in exhaustion and depersonalization between Black and White officers 

Christopher E. Powel and Amie M. Schuck  


A study on the mediating effects of anxiety and happiness for workplace loneliness and behavioral outcomes of Korean police officers  

Yang Woon Chung, Xue Tong Dong and Jeong Kwon Yun  


Perceived organizational support and its interaction with voice on police officers' organizational cynicism, stress and emotional exhaustion  

Chelsie J. Smith, Yu Han, Kathryne E. Dupré and Greg J. Sears  


Perceived COVID-19 impacts on auxiliary police in China 

Yunan Chen, Ivan Sun, Yuning Wu and Ziqiang Han 


Helping the helpers: the role of organizational support and peer influence on police officer receptivity to employee assistance programs  

Kenneth M. Quick 


Violence against on-duty police officers: the role of criminal motivation and premeditation in offenders' choice of weapons  

Xu Haoran, Antoinette Verhage and Christophe Vandeviver 


Proportionate mortality and national rate of death from COVID-19 among US law enforcement officers: 2020 

John M. Violanti, Desta Fekedulegn, Erin McCanlies and Michael E. Andrew 


Suicide clusters in law enforcement: a descriptive analysis  

John M. Violanti