Emotional Demands and Alcohol Use in Corrections: A Moderated Mediation Model

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Journal Of Occupational Health Psychology

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This study examined predictors of alcohol use (i.e., drinking quantity and frequency) in a sample of correctional officers (COs). More specifically, based on the idea of drinking to cope, we predicted an indirect effect of emotional demands at work on COs’ drinking through employee burnout (i.e., exhaustion and disengagement). We further proposed that this indirect effect would be moderated by recovery experiences outside of work (i.e., psychological detachment and mastery). Participants were 1,039 COs from 14 state correctional facilities. Results indicate that emotional demands were positively associated with burnout, burnout was positively associated with COs’ drinking, and emotional demands had a significant indirect effect on COs’ drinking through burnout. In addition, detachment moderated the indirect effect of emotional demands on drinking quantity through exhaustion (but not disengagement), whereas mastery moderated the indirect effect of emotional demands on drinking frequency through disengagement (but not exhaustion). Specifically, the strength of the indirect effects were strongest at the lowest levels of recovery experiences, suggesting that low levels of recovery from work may represent a significant risk factor for drinking to cope in COs. Therefore, COs should be encouraged to participate in activities outside of work that facilitate recovery from work demands.


© 2019 American Psychological Association.

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