Prison Personnel: Burnout, Stress Reactions, and Intent to Quit

Setti Ilaria, Argentero Piergiorgio


The ultimate aim of the present research was to examine well-being of prison Correctional Officers (COs), in particular we have analyzed predictors of burnout and psychosomatic symptoms, and variables affecting job dissatisfaction and intent to quit. 108 self-report questionnaires examining occupational stressors, burnout, psychosomatic symptoms, job dissatisfaction, and intent to quit were collected in an Italian public prison. First of all, the findings revealed that participants showed neither significant burnout nor psychosomatic complaints; this result may be partially explained by the specific-police “macho” culture, the fear of appearing weak which causes the need to show emotions different from the real ones. Furthermore, burnout is mainly affected by the quality of interactions, in terms of stressful contacts, with inmates whereas psychosomatic symptoms by stressful relationships with colleagues and superiors. Finally, the intent to quit the current job, which was found to be rather low, was affected by burnout, in particular by emotional exhaustion. Overall considered, our results suggest some applicative implications, and especially the importance to provide useful strategies, at both organizational and individual level, which may support COs in coping with occupational stressors. In particular, counseling may be effective in preventing emotional distress and in reducing sickness absence caused by the contact with problematic inmates.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n3s1p612

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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