Introduction Knowledge about the factors that contribute to the correctional officer’s (CO) mental health and well-being, or best practices for improving the mental health and well-being of COs, have been hampered by the dearth of rigorous longitudinal studies. In the current protocol, we share the approach used in the Canadian Correctional Workers’ Well-being, Organizations, Roles and Knowledge study (CCWORK), designed to investigate several determinants of health and well-being among COs working in Canada’s federal prison system.
Methods and analysis CCWORK is a multiyear longitudinal cohort design (2018–2023, with a 5-year renewal) to study 500 COs working in 43 Canadian federal prisons. We use quantitative and qualitative data collection instruments (ie, surveys, interviews and clinical assessments) to assess participants’ mental health, correctional work experiences, correctional training experiences, views and perceptions of prison and prisoners, and career aspirations. Our baseline instruments comprise two surveys, one interview and a clinical assessment, which we administer when participants are still recruits in training. Our follow-up instruments refer to a survey, an interview and a clinical assessment, which are conducted yearly when participants have become COs, that is, in annual ‘waves’.
Ethics and dissemination CCWORK has received approval from the Research Ethics Board of the Memorial University of Newfoundland (File No. 20190481). Participation is voluntary, and we will keep all responses confidential. We will disseminate our research findings through presentations, meetings and publications (e.g., journal articles and reports). Among CCWORK’s expected scientific contributions, we highlight a detailed view of the operational, organizational and environmental stressors impacting CO mental health and well-being, and recommendations to prison administrators for improving CO well-being.
- correctional officer
- public safety personnel (PSP)
- mental health disorder
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- occupational stress injuries (OSIs)
- posttraumatic stress injuries (PTSI)
- anxiety disorder
- panic disorder
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Author’s contributions RR conceptualised the project with support of coauthors. AH, AE, BQ, CG, DS, DG, DM, EA, GA, HC, HA, JG, JS, JT, JP, JM, KM, MSC, MM, MH-E, MMM, MA, MW, NC, RM, RR, SH and SC contributed to the research procedures discussed in this protocol. They also revised this article critically, approved its final version and agreed to be accountable for this article’s accuracy and integrity. RR, EA, JS, MA, MMM and MSC also drafted the work and made substantial contributions to the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of the data for this article. RR also led the project, integrating everyone’s contributions.
Funding This manuscript is an original work that has not been submitted for consideration or published elsewhere. This study is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, grants No. 411 385 (31 January 2019), 411 387 (31 January 2019), 422 567 (27 May 2019) and 440 140 (31 March 2020). The research is also supported by the Correctional Services of Canada (grant no. N/A) and the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) (grant no. N/A).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.