Psychosocial risk and protective factors associated with burnout in police officers : A systematic review

The specific factors that may influence burnout levels in police officers are not yet clear. Our aim was to systematically identify the psychosocial risk and protective factors associated with burnout among police officers.

This systematic review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA). A protocol was registered in PROSPERO. A search strategy was applied to Medline via OvidSP, PsycInfo, Scopus and Web of Science. The quality assessment entailed the use of the CASP checklist for cohort studies. The data was reported through a narrative synthesis.

After removing studies based on the selection criteria, 41 studies were included in this review. The findings were synthesized under the following subheadings: socio-demographic factors; organisational factors; operational factors; personality variables and coping strategies. Organisational and operational factors were found to be the most predominant risk factors for burnout. Personality variables and coping strategies appeared as both risk and protective factors. Socio-demographic factors were weak in explaining burnout.

Most studies are from high-income countries. Not all used the same burnout measurement tool. All relied on self-reported data. Since 98 % had a cross-sectional design, causal inferences could not be made.

Burnout, despite being strictly defined as an occupational phenomenon, is related to factors outside of this context. Future research should focus on examining the reported associations by using more robust designs. More attention must be paid to police officers' mental health by investing in developing strategies to mitigate adverse factors and maximise the effects of protective factors.


  • This is the first systematic attempt to review the protective and risk factors of burnout in police officers.
  • Organisational factors have a major contribution to the burnout levels in police officers.
  • Individual factors also play an important role in explaining burnout.
  • The associations between psychosocial factors and burnout are similar across different contexts and different police forces.
  • The police officers’ well-being at the workplace needs to be put in the spotlight of research and policy implementation.


Lucas Alves, Lee Abreo, Eleni Petkari, Mariana Pinto da Costa | 2023
In: Journal of Affective Disorders Reports ; ISSN: 2666-9153 | 332 | july | 283-298
Burnout, Coping Behavior, Mental health, Meta Analysis, Police Personnel, Predisposition, Psychosocial support, Research, Systematic Review