Original Research

The role of spirituality as a coping mechanism for South African traffic officers

Rochelle Jacobs, Annelize van Niekerk
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4344 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4344 | © 2017 Rochelle Jacobs, Annelize van Niekerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2016 | Published: 22 February 2017

About the author(s)

Rochelle Jacobs, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa
Annelize van Niekerk, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, South Africa


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Abstract

Traffic officers are faced with many stressful situations, yet each traffic officer might cope differently with these stressors. Spirituality is regarded as an essential defence in stressful situations. Therefore, this article provides a basic framework guiding traffic officers and practitioners, on how spirituality can be used as a coping mechanism when faced with various work-related stressors. An interpretative, qualitative study was conducted utilising purposive sampling in which 10 traffic officers participated in in-depth interviews. In line with the interpretive paradigm, data were analysed using content analysis. The research findings indicate when utilising spirituality to various degrees in their workplace, traffic officers displayed adaptive coping capabilities. Traffic officers associated less spirituality or a lack thereof with weaker coping capability. Furthermore, spirituality in traffic officers is informed by their spiritual or religious foundation, their purpose in work and life, their connection to a spiritual source, and the fruits of spirituality. The coping ability of traffic officers is influenced by their upbringing and background, by stressors in their work environment and by their coping mechanisms. The role of spirituality in the coping of traffic officers culminated in their ability to interpret the meaning of spirituality, and then implementing spirituality as a coping mechanism.

Keywords

spirituality; coping; traffic officer; interpretive paradigm; employee and organisational wellness; career counselling; qualitative study

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