This literature review discusses research that examined the causes and effects of stress for correctional officers and describes the available research on correctional officer wellness programs.
This literature review by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Diagnostic Center discusses research that examined the causes and effects of stress for correctional officers (COs) and describes the available research on correctional officer wellness programs. The review indicates that there are four different categories of stressors for COs: inmate-related, occupational (inherent to the profession), organizational/administrative; and psycho-social. These stressors pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of COs, and, if not properly managed, can lead to significant health problems and an increased risk for serious psychological distress, emotional disorders, and an elevated risk for suicide. This review has three primary sections. The first section describes the major stressor for COs, as well as the effects of the stressors. The second section is an extensive examination of CO stress management and wellness programs, while the third section is a discussion of common themes identified in the review of the programs. Table and bibliography