Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Psychology

First Advisor

Vincent B. Van Hasselt

Second Advisor

Lenore E. Walker

Third Advisor

Ryan Black


Burnout, Correctional Officer, Detention Deputy, Positive Psychology, Resilience


Correctional Officers are responsible for responding to emergency/crisis situations in correctional settings. Research shows that their work is characterized by numerous psychological stressors that vary by degree and intensity, which can lead to compromised job performance and, ultimately, job burnout. Despite the increased attention directed to the problem of occupational stress in first responders among other professions over the past several years, virtually no investigations have focused on correctional officer resilience. The purpose of this study was to: (a) identify whether select positive personal variables (i.e., hope, optimism, social support) are associated with increased resilience, (b) determine the extent to which individual resilience acts as a protective factor against job burnout, (c) ascertain whether resilience serves as a significant mediator between hope, optimism and social support and reduced burnout, and (d) utilize the findings to make suggestions for future interventions and research in this area. By identifying specific individual characteristics that increase resilience and protect correctional officers against job burnout, it is expected that more efficacious approaches can be identified to enhance stress reduction and management.

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