Mental Health of Police Trainees during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic took power over the world in 2020. Because of this situation, we surveyed the experiences of the police trainees that they observed in the first two months of the pandemic in Hungary as part of ongoing research in the 2019-2020 school year. They were members of different police departments, and the epidemic-related activities became part of their everyday tasks.
In the research, we used a questionnaire that we had prepared. It had 14 questions, and it was a part of our test battery, which examined mental health in a longitudinal study. The inventory was filled in online during the period of their professional examinations (from the end of May to the beginning of June 2020), and we received 28 answered questionnaires about the experience of policing the pandemic. The reason of the low participation rate – 28 answered inventory from approximately 100 people – was probably the impersonal online response, because the earlier data collections were led by the researchers.
The results showed that females experienced larger fear related to the health of relatives than males. Their everyday services were influenced significantly by sleeping difficulties and they felt duties more physically overwhelming at this time. The outcomes did not show gender differences in the fields of mental health.
Despite some negative influences, the pandemic was not perceived as particularly stressful for police work over the first two months of its eruption. Although the sample was not representative, it could mean a basis for the future research of these questions – especially because the pandemic is more stressful for everyone both mentally and physically at the time of the second and third waves.
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