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NCJ Number: 69655 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Psychological Job Stress and the Police Officer
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:8  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1980)  Pages:139-144
Author(s): R D Fell; W C Richard; W L Wallace
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Grant Number: CDC-99-74-60
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An epidemiological examination of Tennessee records of death certificates, community mental health centers, and medical hospitals compared stress-related disorders for the police and a wide range of occupations.
Abstract: All occupations in the State with over 1,000 employees in 1970 were included in the study, with 130 jobs and 1,345,610 workers completing the sample. From this sample, a random sample of death certificates, community mental health center admissions, and hospital admissions were analyzed statistically. A relatively high rate of police officers emerged as having developed serious disorders that were stress-related. Police officers' rate of premature death for stress-related causes was found to be significantly high, with diseases of the circulatory system accounting for a large percentage of the deaths. High rates of admission to medical hospitals for stress-related disorders were significant for police. The suicide rate for police was third highest among 130 occupations. Mental health data (from community mental health centers) showed admissions by police to be not significantly higher than other occupations. Fears of being stigmatizd or of losing jobs could result in officers seeking private help or avoiding treatment altogether. Society also expects officers to respond to stress with toughness and without showing tension. One result of such internalization of feelings may be high levels of somatic illnesses and diseases. More research efforts are needed to determine how police handle emotional stress. Sufficient evidence is, however available, to indicate that remedial programs are needed, such as physical exams, educational programs regarding ways to deal with stress, and crisis intervention. Peer counseling and sensory relaxation should be available to all officers. Footnotes and illustrative charts and tables are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Police attitudes; Police occupational stress; Police personnel; Tennessee
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