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NCJ Number: 217838 Find in a Library
Title: Stress Management...And the Stress-Proof Vest
Journal: Law and Order: The Magazine for Police Management  Volume:55  Issue:2  Dated:February 2007  Pages:352-355
Author(s): Robert Fox
Date Published: February 2007
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses police officer stress as well as organizational and personal changes that can help overcome negative stress outcomes for officers.
Abstract: The author proposes that police officers should be outfitted with two types of “stress vests:” (1) a personal “stress vest,” and (2) an institutional “stress vest.” The personal “stress vest” involves an attitude of gratitude from the officer--gratitude about their lives and families. This type of spiritual growth begins with the officers themselves and involves the development of a healthy identity. The institutional “stress vest” refers to changes in the police organizational structure than can help decrease occupational stress among officers. Police managers are encouraged to become educated and trained in modern management theory in order to equip themselves with effective organization, personnel, and communication skills. The author notes that one of the key reasons officers suffer from high levels of stress is the dehumanizing aspect of the job. Officers all wear the same uniform and look like the same person in the eyes of the public, making it difficult to maintain a sense of individuality. This type of dehumanization, when coupled with an unsupportive organizational structure and inefficient management, leads to officer distress and burnout. Indeed, the author points out that police officers commit suicide at up to three times the national average and are eight times more likely to kill themselves than to become a homicide victim. The author also highlights the basic areas of human needs, which are identified as personal wellness, social wellness, occupational wellness, and spiritual wellness. It is up to individual officers and the departments they work for to strive to achieve each type of human need in order to assure a mentally healthy police force. Exhibits
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress; Stress management
Index Term(s): Police management; Police organizational structure
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