Exposure to extraorganizational stressors

Impact on mental health and organizational perceptions for police officers

Amanda Biggs*, Paula Brough, Jennifer P. Barbour

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Disasters, whether natural or human-initiated, occur beyond organizational boundaries and affect organizational functioning. This research investigated the impact of a natural disaster on the health and work attitudes of police officers. Structural equation modeling was employed to test whether exposure to a natural disaster intensified job demands and diminished job resources, which, in turn, negatively influenced work outcomes. The research sample consisted of 1,623 police officers who completed electronic surveys collected approximately 10 months prior to, and 1 month after, a natural disaster. Exposure to certain aspects of a natural disaster was significantly associated with work culture support, which, in turn, was associated with job satisfaction, work engagement, psychological strain, and turnover intentions (χ2[1094] = 2484.03; p < .001; standardized root mean square residual = .04; Tucker-Lewis index = .97; comparative fit index = .98; parsimonyadjusted comparative fit index = .87; root mean square error of approximation = .03). Job resources in particular had a significant impact upon the outcome variables, supporting theoretical models that emphasize their critical role in the stressor-strain process (e.g., Hobfoll, 1989). This research suggests that positive work-related outcomes for organizations directly involved with major disasters may be attained through (a) the provision of a supportive work culture, (b) targeted supportive organizational responses to employees personally affected by disasters, and (c) adequate recognition for the work performed by employees involved in disaster relief efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-282
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Stress Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Disasters
  • Police officers
  • Stress
  • Work culture
  • Work engagement

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