Policing Abstracts
"Job Related Burnout Among Civilians and Sworn Personnel," by
William P. McCarty and Wesley G. Skogan
Police Quarterly 2012

Employee burnout can affect workers’ health, motivation, and job performance,
and speed staff turnover. In law enforcement, burnout has been attributed to a
variety of job-related, organizational, and personal factors, ranging from the
danger inherent to the job to the liabilities of late shift work, tension with
supervisors, and gender relations in the organization. Overlooked in almost all
of these studies has been the place of civilians in police work, and how their
burnout experiences differ from—or resemble—those of their sworn
counterparts. This study is based on surveys of both sworn and civilian
employees of 12 police agencies from across the United States. In the survey
they described their extent of emotional exhaustion, and reported on features
of their lives and work that have been hypothesized to magnify or minimize this
stress reaction. The study found that the burnout process is a universal one,
driven by virtually the same factors among both civilians and sworn officers.
Difficulties balancing work and life responsibilities, the support they receive from
coworkers and supervisors, the fairness of personnel policies, and several
personal factors contributed to burnout levels. The implications of these
findings for both research and practice are also explored.
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