Association between perceived stress, coping profile and fear during the COVID-19 pandemic among male and female police students
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University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia (Faculty of Sport and Physical Education)
Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Police Sports Education Center)
Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia (Tactical Research Unit)
University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy)
University of Criminal Investigation and Police Studies, Belgrade, Serbia (Department of Criminalistics)
Nenad Koropanovski   

University of Criminal Investigation and Police Studies, Department of Criminalistics, Cara Dušana 196, 11080 Belgrade, Serbia
Online publication date: 2022-05-19
Med Pr 2022;73(3):179–190
Background: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was a sudden unknown stressor that could cause fear among people. Police officers were in the front lines, often unknowingly in direct contact with infected individuals, thus fear of getting infected (i.e., fear of COVID-19) could be higher in this population. Police students are preparing for the job of police officers and how they cope with a sudden unknown situation could be of importance for job performance and their mental health if such a situation occurs. This study aimed to investigate the association of perceived stress and coping strategies with fear of COVID-19 in police students. Material and Methods: Perceived stress scale-10, Brief COPE, and Fear of COVID-19 (FSV-19) were administered to 340 police students (female = 183 [53.82%] and male = 157 [46.18%]). Correlation analysis was applied to test the association between perceived stress, all dimension of coping and fear of COVID-19. Multivariate analysis of variance was used to investigate between-gender differences. For mediating and moderating effect of coping primary coping style were used. Results: MANOVA reviled that significant differences occurred in perceived stress, 3 primary coping styles and fear of COVID-19 based on a gender. Stepwise regression analysis extracted the most significant predictors of fear of COVID-19. Perceived stress was the strongest predictor in general and in both genders. Denial and self-distancing were significant coping subscales in males, while humour and denial were significant in females. Conclusions: Perceived stress and coping strategies that students used to deal with the situation moderately defined their fear of COVID-19 outbreak, with perceived stress being the strongest predictor. Med Pr. 2022;73(3):179–90