Burnout, stress and coping in the South African Police Service in the Free State
Tracking and addressing police members' effectiveness in areas that could impact on the standard of their services are important. Burnout, job stress and ways to cope are specific focus areas in this regard. Previous research indicates relationships between burnout, job stress and coping while such relationships in the SAPS in the Free State have not yet been investigated. The objectives of this research were to determine the reliability and validity of the MBI-GS for SAPS members in the Free State, and secondly to determine the relationship between job stress and burnout, and thirdly to determine whether coping strategies can moderate or mediate the relationship between job stress and burnout A stratified random sample of 332 police personnel in the Free State was taken. The Maslach Burnout Inventory - General Survey (MI-GS), Police Stress Inventory (PSI) and the Cope Questionnaire (COPE) were used as measuring instruments. Cronbach alpha coefficients, inter-item correlation coefficients, Pearson-product correlation coefficients and canonical correlation coefficients were used to analyse the data. Structural equation modelling (SEM) methods were used to construct coping models of burnout. Structural equation modelling confirmed a 3-factor model of burnout. All three factors showed acceptable internal consistencies. Job stress was associated with exhaustion, which led to cynicism. Job stress was independently related to lower levels of professional efficacy. Active coping and seeking emotional support moderate the relationship between job stress and professional efficacy. Avoidance moderates the relationship between job stress and exhaustion and mediates the relationship between job stress and cynicism. Recommendations for future research were made.