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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136829 Find in a Library
Title: Stressors Facing Australian Police in the 1990s
Journal: Police Studies  Volume:14  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1991)  Pages:153-165
Author(s): G Coman; B Evans
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 13
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A number of researchers in the United States and the United Kingdom have categorized the occupational stressors experienced by police officers. These studies have led to contradictory assertions about the stressfulness of police work compared with other occupational groups. Some researchers have asserted that policing is a highly stressful occupation, while others have concluded that police work is no more stressful than many other occupations. The present study examined the range of occupational activities experienced by Australian police personnel, with officers reporting not only the frequency of occurrence of work-related events but their perceptions of the relative stressfulness of each of these.
Abstract: Occupational events reported by officers were then categorized as either Job Content or Job Context stressors. Job content stressors derive from the nature of the work done by police officers, while job context stressors derive from the nature of the organization in which officers work. The data suggest that Australian police officers, like their counterparts in the United States and the United Kingdom, face a number of job context events, such as organizational structure and communication, supervisory practices, and career pathing concerns, which are similar to the organizational stresses reported by many work groups. Police officers also work in a professional environment which stresses emotional detachment from others, suspiciousness toward the community, and cynicism regarding the job. In addition, police face the daily prospect of being exposed to dangerous, uncontrolled, and anxiety-provoking situations which may result in death or physical injury to officers or innocent bystanders. These acute stressors may compound the already high level of stress that officers feel as a result of daily hassles in the job. This combination of Job Context and Job Content stressors makes policing a potentially highly stressful occupation. (Author abstract)
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress
Index Term(s): Australia; Foreign police; Police attitudes; Police management; Police responsibilities
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