Stress shield: A model of police resiliency

Douglas Paton, John M. Violanti , Peter Johnston , Joanna Clarke, Karena Burke, Denise Keenan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper discusses the development of a new model of police officer resiliency. Following Antonovsky's definition of resilience, the model is built on the view that the resilience of a person or group reflects the extent to which they can call upon their psychological and physical resources and competencies in ways that allow them to render challenging events coherent, manageable, and meaningful. The model posits that a police officer's capacity to render challenging experiences meaningful, coherent, and manageable reflects the interaction of person, team, and organizational factors. The paper argues that a model that encompasses these factors can be developed using theories drawn from the literatures of occupational health and empowerment. The development of the model is also informed by the need to ensure that it can accommodate the importance of learning from past experiences to build resilience in ways that increase officers' capacity to adapt to future risk and uncertainty. By building on recent empirical research, this paper outlines a new multi-level model of resilience and adaptive capacity. The Stress Shield model of resilience integrates person, team and organizational factors to provide a proactive framework for developing and sustaining police officer resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStress management in law enforcement
EditorsL Territo , J.D. Sewell
Place of PublicationDurham
PublisherCarolina Academic Press
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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