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NCJ Number: 68539 Find in a Library
Title: THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT STRESS IN CORRECTIONS
Author(s): G HARRIS
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE FOCUSES ON THE SUBJECT OF STRESS IN CORRECTIONS AND ATTEMPTS TO CLARIFY THE CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE PHENOMENON IN RELATION TO THE CORRECTIONAL ENVIRONMENT.
Abstract: THE NEED FOR A REASSESSMENT OF THE OCCUPATIONAL STRESS CONCEPT HAS BEEN BROUGHT OUT BY A 1977 STUDY ANALYZING HOSPITAL AND DEATH RECORDS TO DETERMINE WHICH JOBS RATED HIGH IN THE SO CALLED STRESS-RELATED ILLNESSES, INCLUDING HEART ATTACKS, ULCERS, ARTHRITIS AND MENTAL DISORDERS. NEITHER POLICE NOR CORRECTIONS OFFICERS MADE THE TOP TEN, SUGGESTING CAUTION IN PLANNING EXPENDIDURES AND OTHER EFFORTS CURRENTLY EMPHASIZED BY CORRECTIONS ADMINISTRATIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMBATING EMPLOYEE STRESS. PHYSIOLOGICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND BEHAVIORAL DEFINITIONS OF STRESS ARE REVIEWED IN ORDER TO POINT OUT THAT THEY ARE INCONSISTENT WITH EACH OTHER AND HAVE RESULTED IN CONFUSED CAUSE-EFFECT REASONING. 'STATES AND EFFECTS' COMMONSENSE REASONING HAS PRODUCED THE THEORY THAT A 'STRESSFUL' ENVIRONMENT (CONDITIONS) CAUSES 'MENTAL UPSET' (STATES) WHICH IN TURN, LEADS TO BEHAVIORAL OR PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES (EFFECTS). ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THE CAUSAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IN STRESS-PRODUCED DISORDERS HAVE EVOLVED FROM MISLEADING ANALYSES OF CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SOCIAL OR ENVIORNMENTAL CONDITIONS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL STATES. IMPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE THAT PHYSICAL AND BEHAVIORAL EFFECTS RESULT FROM STRESS PRECIPITATED BY CERTAIN CONDITIONS WITHOUT CLEAR EXPLANATION OF THE LINKAGE MECHANISMS BETWEEN THEM. MOREOVER, MEASURING AMOUNTS OR DEGREES OF STRESS HAS NO METHODOLOGICAL SOLUTION; THE WORD HAS LOST ITS PRECISION WHEN VARIOUS STATES OF TENSION, ANXIETY OR AWARENESS OF LOSS OF FUNCTIONING ARE THUS DEFINED. FURTHER COMPLICATIONS ARISE WHEN ORGANIZATIONAL CONFLICTS AND AMBIGUITIES ARE ALSO DESCRIBED AS STRESSFUL. IN FACT, THE ASSUMED DIRECTION OF CAUSALITY FROM CONDITIONS TO STATES TO EFFECTS, COULD WORK AS WELL IN THE REVERSE. FOR EXAMPLE, IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL'S FAILING HEALTH HAS SOME INFLUENCE ON HIS PSYCHOLOGICAL STATE, I.E., HEALTH INFLUENCES STRESS, BUT THIS POSSIBILITY IS OBSCURED BY THE TRADITIONAL ONE-WAY PROGRESSION. BLAMING THE ORGANIZATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FOR EMPLOYEE HEALTH FAILURES IS AN OVERGENERALIZATION OF RESULTS NOT APPLICABLE IN ALL CASES. IN THE FUTURE, CLEARER DEFINITION OF STRESS AND DESCRIPTION OF RELATIONSHIPS ARE NEEDED IN RESEARCH PROJECTS SO THAT RATIONAL AND PRODUCTIVE CHANGE MAY BE EFFECTED IN THE CORRECTIONAL ENVIRONMENT. A DIAGRAM AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Correctional personnel; Job pressure; Psychological research; Researcher subject relations
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68539

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