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New Hope for Correctional Officers: An Innovative Program for Reducing Stress and Health Risks

McCraty, R., et al

Appl Psych and Biofeedback 2009. 34(4): p. 251-272.

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Abstract

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.