Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


John Bentley


law enforcement cardiovascular disease (CVD), criminal justice, law enforcement health and wellness, law enforcement occupational stress, health belief model theory, law enforcement cardiovascular risk awareness


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Cardiovascular disease-related deaths and injuries are prevalent among law enforcement officers (Han et al., 2017; Keeler et al., 2021), with attribution pointing to the strong associations between the inherent stressors of police work directly impacting the psychological and physical health of police officers (Santa Maria et al., 2018; Violanti et al., 2017). As such, several researchers have studied the associations between police officers' perceptions of stress and the presence of cardiovascular disease risk factors. However, there is a current gap in the literature on information examining the relationship between law enforcement officers' cardiovascular disease risk perceptions and their utilized health behaviors for mitigating such risk. The aim of this case study was to understand the perceptions of cardiovascular disease risk among law enforcement officers in Ohio, United States. Rosenstock's (1966/1974) health belief model theory, which suggests a positive relationship between one's perceptions of risk and health behaviors, provided this study's guiding principles. The researcher explored police officers' perceptions of their cardiovascular disease risk and their reported health behaviors. This researcher conducted in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 11 Ohio law enforcement officers with varied demographic backgrounds. Following data collection and qualitative analysis, the researcher reported findings and provided recommendations for improving the lives of police officers, their families, and the communities they serve.