Prison officers’ experiences of aggression: implications for sleep and recovery


Background: Prison officers are at high risk of assault that can impair their mental as well as physical health. Such experiences can also disrupt sleep, with negative implications for well-being and job performance. To manage this risk, insight is needed into the mechanisms by which experiencing aggression from prisoners can affect officers’ sleep quality. By impairing recovery processes, work-related hypervigilance and rumination might be key factors in this association. Aims: To examine prison officers’ personal experiences of aggression and associations with sleep quality. Also, to consider whether work-related hypervigilance and rumination mediate the relationship between exposure to aggression and sleep. Methods: We assessed prison officers’ experiences of aggression and violence, work-related hypervigilance and rumination via an online survey. The PROMIS was used to measure the quality of sleep. Results: The study sample comprised 1,806 prison officers (86.8% male). A significant relationship was found between the frequency of experiences of aggression at work and the quality of sleep. Work-related hypervigilance and rumination were significantly associated with sleep quality and mediated the relationship between workplace aggression and sleep quality. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that enhancing the safety climate in prisons might improve officers’ quality of sleep that, in turn, could benefit their wellbeing and performance. Implementing individual-level strategies to help prison officers manage hypervigilance and rumination, and therefore facilitate recovery, should also be effective in improving their sleep.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
Additional Information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Occupational Medicine. All rights reserved. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Occupational Medicine following peer review. The version of record, 'G Kinman, A J Clements, (2022). "Prison officers’ experiences of aggression: implications for sleep and recovery", Occupational Medicine, 72 (9), Pages 604–608;' is available online at:
Publication ISSN: 1471-8405
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2023 00:32
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 14:46
Full Text Link: 10.1093/occmed/kqac117
Related URLs: https://academi ... kqac117/6901974 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-12-31
Published Online Date: 2022-12-14
Accepted Date: 2022-12-01
Authors: Kinman, G
Clements, A J



Version: Accepted Version

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