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Does Cardiorespiratory Fitness Buffer Stress Reactivity and Stress Recovery in Police Officers? A Real-Life Study

Schilling, René and Herrmann, Christian and Ludyga, Sebastian and Colledge, Flora and Brand, Serge and Pühse, Uwe and Gerber, Markus. (2020) Does Cardiorespiratory Fitness Buffer Stress Reactivity and Stress Recovery in Police Officers? A Real-Life Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. p. 594.

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Abstract

High levels of cardiorespiratory fitness have the potential to buffer against physical and mental health impairments, which can result from exposure to occupational stress. Police officers are especially at risk of high psychosocial stress; therefore, effective intervention strategies are warranted. Given this background, the purpose of the present study was to examine whether police officers with different levels of cardiorespiratory fitness differ with regard to their (a) physiological stress reactivity during acute real-life stress situations, and (b) physiological recovery related to acute and chronic work stress. In total, 201 police officers took part in this study (M = 38.6 years, SD = 10.1, 35.8% females). Officers were contacted eight times on a smartphone during their workday, and asked to report their current level of positive and negative affect, as well as feelings of stress and anger. Physiological stress responses and recovery (heart rate variability) were assessed using Movisens EcgMove3 devices. The Åstrand bicycle ergometer test was used to assess participants' cardiorespiratory fitness. Chronic work stress was assessed using the effort-reward imbalance model and the job strain model. Multilevel modeling was used to test buffering effects of cardiorespiratory fitness on physiological stress reactivity. Linear regression was applied to test stress-buffering effects of cardiorespiratory fitness on physiological recovery. Results showed lowered physiological stress reactivity to acute work stress in officers with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. However, these results were not consistent, with no effects occurring for feelings of anger, positive affect, and negative affect. Chronic work stress (effort-reward imbalance) was related to lower physiological recovery. Cardiorespiratory fitness was positively related to physiological recovery. Data did not support interactions between work stress and cardiorespiratory fitness on physiological recovery. To some extent, cardiorespiratory fitness seems to have the potential to buffer stress reactivity in police officers in acute stress situations. Therefore, we encourage promoting fitness programs which aim to enhance cardiorespiratory fitness in stressful occupations such as law enforcement. Improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness might further enhance physiological recovery from chronic work stress, which is thought to improve cardiovascular health.
Faculties and Departments:03 Faculty of Medicine
UniBasel Contributors:Schilling, René and Herrmann, Christian and Ludyga, Sebastian and Colledge, Flora and Brand, Serge and Pühse, Uwe and Gerber, Markus
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
e-ISSN:1664-0640
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:29 Jun 2020 08:26
Deposited On:29 Jun 2020 08:26

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