Related factors to aggression in correctional officers from Costa Rica



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One of the areas of intervention and study of forensic psychology is police psychology, which includes correctional officers. Some of the situations these officers are exposed to in correctional facilities (i.e., jails and prisons) include violence between inmates, working over-time, or having to attend unexpected emergencies. The exposure to these situations might lead to depression, burnout, work stress, and alcohol and drug use, which might be related to the presence of aggression towards the inmates and other officers. The purpose of this study was to establish if a sample of correctional officers from Costa Rica experienced depression, burnout, work stress, and alcohol and drug use, and if these factors were related to the presence of aggression. Participants completed different surveys measuring these relevant constructs in Spanish. The final sample consisted of 66 Costa Rican correctional officers working at prisons located all over the country. It was found that only depression and burnout were positively correlated with aggression. Work stress was only correlated with depression, and burnout was only correlated with alcohol use. Male officers presented with higher levels of alcohol use and burnout than females. Finally, females presented with higher levels of depression, work stress and aggression than males. Drug use among the sample could not be established because of the lack of responses. Since there were relationships between the presence of aggression and different psychophysiological conditions among the correctional officers, is important to keep studying these relationships so methods to prevent the use of aggression towards all members of the correctional system can be designed, and to improve the health conditions of the correctional officers to avoid turnover and job overload, and to improve the quality of the services they provide.



Correctional officers, Aggression