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Understanding the impact of prison work on the mental health of Correctional Officers employed by Correctional Services Canada: Beginning of a longitudinal study

Keywords: Mental Health, Training, Trauma

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, Department of Sociology, Memorial University

 

Title of research

Understanding the impact of prison work on the mental health of Correctional Officers employed by Correctional Services Canada: Beginning of a longitudinal study

Summary

Correctional work, like all public safety work, can lead to challenging, stressful, and potentially traumatic experiences. Researchers have identified factors that might increase psychological disorders in correctional officers (COs). However, no research has explored if COs feel prepared for the job challenges when they begin their careers.

The current study will act as a pilot to a five-year longitudinal study looking at CO well-being from recruitment to five years on the job. Thirty-five CO recruits will provide information on their historical and present mental health at the start of employment (including experiences that have shaped them over their lives like trauma or mental health diagnosis). They will also be asked questions about coping skills, views, and experiences at the start of the job. Further questions about what influenced them to enter the field, if they have previous military or PSP experience, their meaning-making around physical space, gender, and understanding of safety will also be asked.

The information gained through questionnaires and clinical interviews will allow the team to create a baseline required for understanding COs health at the start of employment.

The information collected will help the team understand what COs need to be prepared for a job that exposes them to potential trauma and adversity. It will also give insight into what training and support might be required for COs during their employment in corrections.

When to expect results

Preliminary results will be shared at the end-of-grant workshop.

Research team

Dr. Rose Ricciardelli, professor of sociology at Memorial University of Newfoundland; Dr. R. Nicholas Carleton, professor of psychology at the University of Regina; Dr. Stephan Czarnuch, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland; Dr. Dianne Groll, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Queens University; Dr. Kellie Hadden, assistant professor of psychology at Memorial University of Newfoundland; Dr. Bastien Quirion, associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa; Dr. Dominique Moran, University of Birmingham.

 

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