An Examination of Subjective and Objective Measures of Stress in Tactical Populations: A Scoping Review

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Persons working in tactical occupations are often exposed to high-stress situations. If this stress is to be measured, an understanding of the stress outcomes used in these occupations is needed. The aim of this review was to capture and critically appraise research investigating subjective and objective outcome measures of physiological stress in tactical occupations. Several literature databases (PubMed, EMBASE, EBsco) were searched using key search words and terms. Studies meeting inclusion criteria were critically evaluated and scored by two authors using the Joanne Briggs Institute (JBI) critical appraisal tool. Of 17,171 articles, 42 studies were retained. The Cohen’s Kappa agreement between authors was 0.829 with a mean JBI Score of included studies of 8.1/9 ± 0.37 points. Multiple subjective and objective measures were assessed during a variety of high-stress tasks and environments across different occupations, including police officers, emergency service personnel, firefighters, and soldiers in the military. Common objective outcomes measures were heart rate, cortisol, and body temperature, and subjective measures were ratings of perceived exertion, and the Self Trait Anxiety Inventory. Often used in combination (i.e., subjective and objective), these outcome measures can be used to monitor stressors faced by tactical personnel undergoing on-the-job training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-40
Number of pages40
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2023


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