All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Kathleen C Brown

Advisory Committee Members

Diane Grimley

M Gail Hill

Elizabeth H Maples

Michael T Weaver

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing


Obesity is a paramount public health threat in the U.S. as approximately twothirds of the adult population is overweight. Police officers have an even higher prevalence of overweight and obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors. Police officers often attribute their above average cardiovascular disease risk to shift work, jobrelated stress, and poor dietary habits while working. Occupational stress is a major concern among police officers. Therefore, it is important to understand the relationships among occupational stress, obesity, and diet habits. However, few research studies have characterized these relationships in police officers. The specific aims of this study were to determine the associations of: 1) personal factors (gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, and shift assignment) and cognitive factors (benefits of healthy eating, barriers to healthy eating, and dietary self-efficacy) with occupational stress, 2) personal and cognitive factors with fat-related diet habits, and 3) personal factors, fat-related diet habits, and occupational stress with body composition, comprised of BMI and waist circumference. This nonexperimental, correlational study was guided by the revised Health Promotion Model. A convenience sample of 289 sworn police officers completed the Job iv Stress Survey, Diet Habits Questionnaire, Eating Habits Confidence Survey, and Healthy Eating Benefit/Barriers Scale instruments. Among the personal factors, only race/ethnicity was significantly associated with occupational stress. Black police officers had a significantly lower mean occupational stress level when compared to White police officers. Dietary self-efficacy was inversely associated with occupational stress; whereas, barriers to healthy eating was positively correlated to occupational stress level. No relationship was found between occupational stress and fat-related diet habits. The model containing race/ethnicity, dietary selfefficacy, and barriers to healthy eating explained 26.4% of the variance in fat-related diet habits. Black police officers tended to have higher fat-related diet habits than White police officers. Gender, race/ethnicity, and the interaction between gender and race/ethnicity were significantly associated with body composition. Neither fat-related habits nor occupational stress were significantly related to body composition. The findings from this study can be used in planning dietary and occupational stress interventions among police officers. Future research is needed to determine other predictors of diet habits and body composition.

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Nursing Commons



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