Patricia Irizar

I am in the final year of my PhD at the University of Liverpool, which was funded by the ESRC and Alcohol Change UK. During my PhD, I have researched the level of hazardous and harmful alcohol use in the UK Police Service and examined the link between alcohol use and mental health. I took a multi-methods approach to my PhD, using large epidemiological datasets to determine prevalence estimates and associated factors, and using qualitative interviews to gain a deeper understanding of police employees’ experiences of alcohol use. I have recently started working at the University of Manchester, as a research associate, researching ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 health outcomes.


A latent class analysis of health (risk) behaviours in the UK Police Service and associations with mental health and job strain


Aims: Health risk behaviours, such as at-risk alcohol use and smoking, often cluster together, and have known associations with mental health and stress. This study will examine classes of health (risk) behaviours, and associations with mental health and job strain, in a high stress occupation (UK Police Service).
Methods: Cross-sectional data (collected between 2006 to 2015) from 25,234 male and 14,989 female police employees was obtained from the Airwave Health Monitoring Study which measured health (risk) behaviours (alcohol use, fruit and vegetable consumption, red meat consumption, smoking status, physical activity), probable mental health (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), and job strain (high/low/active/passive). Latent Class Analysis identified classes of health (risk) behaviours and multinomial logistic regressions analysed their associations with mental health and job strain.
Results: A 5-class solution was the best fit for both genders. Men and women with probable depression, anxiety, and PTSD (versus no mental health problem) had at least double the odds of being in the “high health risk behaviours” class. For both genders, depression was associated with higher odds of being in the “healthy abstainers” class, and anxiety was associated in men only. Men and women reporting high strain (versus low strain) were more likely to be in the “low risk drinkers with other health risk behaviours” classes, but the odds ratios were small.
Conclusions: Police employees experiencing poor mental health are more likely to engage in multiple health risk behaviours, highlighting the importance of interventions which target co-occurring health risk behaviours in this group.
 
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