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Police officer study

Police work is often regarded as an extremely stressful occupation, and officers typically suffer a variety of physiological, psychological and behavioral stress effects. It has been argued that particular attention should be given to occupational stress in policing, as its potential negative consequences affect society in more direct and critical ways than stress in most other occupations. Officers operating under severe and chronic stress may well be at greater risk of error, accidents and over-reaction that can compromise their performance, jeopardize public safety and pose significant liability costs to the organization. However, police officers are rarely provided with effective stress management strategies to help alleviate these problems. This study explored the impact on a group of police officers from Santa Clara County, California of the HeartMath stress and emotional self-management training, which provides practical techniques designed to reduce stress in the moment, improve physiological and emotional balance, increase mental clarity and enhance performance and quality of life.


Coherence and health care cost- A cost-effectiveness cohort study

Chronic stress is among the most costly health problems in terms of direct health costs, absenteeism, disability, and performance standards. The Reformed Church in America (RCA) identified stress among its clergy as a major cause of higher-than-average health claims and implemented HeartMath (HM) to help its participants manage stress and increase physiological resilience. The 6-week HM program Revitalize You! was selected for the intervention including the emWave Personal Stress Reliever technology.

From 2006 to 2007, completion of a health risk assessment (HRA) provided eligible clergy with the opportunity to participate in the HM program or a lifestyle management program (LSM). Outcomes for that year were assessed with the Stress and Well-being Survey. Of 313 participants who completed the survey, 149 completed the Revitalize You! Program, and 164 completed the LSM. Well-being, stress management, resilience, and emotional vitality were significantly improved in the HM group as compared to the LSM group.

In an analysis of the claims costs data for 2007 and 2008, 144 pastors who had participated in the HM program were compared to 343 non-participants (control group). Adjusted medical costs were reduced by 3.8% for HM participants in comparison with an increase of 9.0% for the control group. For the adjusted pharmacy costs, an increase of 7.9% was found compared with an increase of 13.3% for the control group. Total 2008 savings as a result of the HM program are estimated at $585 per participant, yielding a return on investment of 1.95:1. These findings show that HM stress-reduction and coherence-building techniques can reduce health care costs.

New hope for correctional officers

This study investigated the impact of a new stress management program on physiological and psychological stress and health risk factors among 75 correctional officers. The experimental group received training in emotion self-regulation techniques intended to reduce stress and health risk factors. Practice of the techniques was enhanced by heart rate variability feedback, which helped participants learn and sustain use of the self-management tools. Measures of physiological stress included cortisol, DHEA, cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose levels, 10-min resting electrocardiogram, heart rate variability, and blood pressure. Three psychological questionnaires assessed emotional stress and work-related variables. There were significant improvements in the experimental group in cholesterol, glucose, heart rate, blood pressure and positive outlook and significant reductions in overall psychological distress. There were significant increases in productivity, motivation, goal clarity, and perceived support. The mean difference between pre- and post-intervention projected health care costs was calculated to be $1,179 per employee per year.

Self management and personal organization

This research examined the effect of an Inner Quality Management (IQM) training program on 54 employees in the Information Technology Services Division of a state agency which was experiencing change-related turmoil. Measures of personal and organizational quality in the trained employees were compared to those of a 64-member comparison group that had not received the training. After the completion of the training, seven weeks from the initial assessment, the study group reported significant decreases in dimensions of negative affect and stress and significant increases in dimensions of positive affect in relation to the comparison group. Also, perceptions of goal clarity and productivity increased significantly. Implications for individual and organizational wellness are discussed.

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