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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


GUMANI, Masefako A.; FOURIE, Mattheus E.  and  TERRE BLANCHE, Martin J.. Inner strategies of coping with operational work amongst SAPS officers. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2013, vol.39, n.2, pp.1-10. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: Identification of the inner coping strategies used by South African Police Service (SAPS) officers who do operational work is something the SAPS should consider to ensure the officers' management of trauma and efficiency at work. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to describe inner coping strategies used by officers in the Vhembe district (South Africa) to reconstruct stressful and traumatic experiences at work. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Most studies on coping amongst SAPS officers focus on organisational I stress and not on the impact of the officers' operational work. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: An exploratory design was used and 20 SAPS officers were selected through purposive sampling. In-depth face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as diaries were used to collect data, which were analysed using content thematic data analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: The results showed that the main categories of coping strategies that led to management of the impact of operational work amongst the selected sample were centred around problem-focused and emotion-focused strategies, with some use of reappraisal and minimal use of avoidance. Considering the context of the officers' work, the list of dimensions of inner coping strategies amongst SAPS officers should be extended. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Intervention programmes designed for the SAPS, including critical incident stress debriefing, should take the operational officers' inner strategies into account to improve the management of the impact of their work. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study contributes to the body of knowledge on the inner coping strategies amongst SAPS officers, with special reference to operational work in a specific setting.

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