skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 76604 Find in a Library
Title: Stress and the Female Officer (From Stress and Police Personnel, P 142-147, 1981, Leonard Territo and Harold J Vetter, ed. - See NCJ-76602)
Author(s): B Washington
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Allyn and Bacon, Inc
Needham Heights, MA 02194-2310
Sale Source: Allyn and Bacon, Inc
Publicity Manager
160 Gould Street
Needham Heights, MA 02194-2310
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a discussion of the unique stresses experienced by female police officers, this article explores aspects of the female character that should be considered by police departments in their training programs and provides guidelines to reduce stress.
Abstract: Women who enter law enforcement are not only exposed to the same job stresses as their male counterparts but experience additional pressures simply because they are female. To attain the peer approval which is important to police work, the rookie female officer must surmount prejudices against women as the weaker sex with little support from family or friends. The minority female officer must also handle problems relating to racial identity. Although many barriers to women entering law enforcement have been eliminated, doubts about the ability of women to perform police work remain. Research studies seriously contradict the belief that women cannot cope with the stresses of police work. Women are less susceptible to alcoholism and drug addiction and adjust more rapidly to the loss of a spouse than men. They also withstand fatigue from long working hours and lack of sleep better than men. Women's feelings are more overt and may be released immediately by crying, while men's emotions are internalized. Both approaches are complementary, but male police officers should look for acceptable ways to ventilate their feelings before they become uncontrollable, and female officers might try physical activity as a stress reduction method. Women can be particularly effective in police work because society encourages them to resolve conflicts by nonviolent means. To reduce stress, a woman should realistically assess the demands of police work and be able to account for her actions and accept the consequences. During police academy training, females can benefit from role playing in simulated stress situations. Loud harsh discipline can prepare the officer for the abuse she may encounter on the street, and exercises in commanding the class can help develop skills necessary to control a street situation. Mock courtroom dramas are also valuable. Operational guidelines regarding the treatment of female personnel should be sent to all commanders in each police department. The article contains one note.
Index Term(s): Male female police performance comparisons; Police occupational stress; Police stress training; Police women
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Article adapted from Stress Reduction Techniques for the Female Officer, in Job Stress and the Police Officer - Identifying Stress Reduction Techniques, 1975, P 35-49, W H Kroes and J J Hurrell, Jr, ed.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.