The association between stress mindset and physical and psychological wellbeing: testing a stress beliefs model in police officers

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Keech, Jacob J
Cole, Kaitlyn L
Hagger, Martin S
Hamilton, Kyra
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Objective: Emergency service workers like police officers experience high levels of stress in the course of their regular duties. Holding particular stress mindsets may help to mitigate the deleterious effects of stress and promote wellbeing in workers experiencing regular stress. The study aimed to examine the processes by which stress mindsets relate to health and wellbeing in police officers. A stress beliefs model in which perceived somatic symptoms and coping behaviours mediate effects of stress mindsets on outcomes was tested. Design: Police officers (N = 134) completed an online cross-sectional survey. Main outcome measures: Perceived somatic symptoms, proactive coping behaviours, physical and psychological wellbeing, and perceived stress. Results: Bayesian path analysis with informative priors revealed indirect effects of stress mindsets on psychological wellbeing and perceived stress through proactive coping behaviours and perceived somatic symptoms. Physical and psychological wellbeing, and perceived stress were predicted by stress mindsets directly, and through perceived somatic symptoms. Conclusion: The findings support model predictions that behaviours aimed at proactively meeting demands and perceived somatic symptoms mediated the relationship between stress mindset and health-related outcomes. The findings provide further foundational knowledge on mechanisms through which stress mindset is associated with outcomes and can inform future longitudinal and experimental research.

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Psychology & Health

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This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Psychology & Health, 26 Mar 2020, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:

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Keech, JJ; Cole, KL; Hagger, MS; Hamilton, K, The association between stress mindset and physical and psychological wellbeing: testing a stress beliefs model in police officers, Psychology & Health, 2020