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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77071 Find in a Library
Title: Police Stress - The Empirical Evidence
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:9  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1981)  Pages:61-75
Author(s): W C Terry
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Findings are reported from studies that examine whether police work is stressful, and if so, to what extent.
Abstract: There is limited empirical evidence focusing on police stress, and that which does exist poses interpretive difficulties; still, writers continue to claim that police work is either the most stressful occupation or is among the most stressful. When comparing police work to the stress associated with other occupations, the case for police stress may be overstated. There are few studies of job-related stressors, particularly of the kind which look at job stressors from the perspective of rank-and-file members. Studies which examine the effects of job stress are much more numerous. It is the interoccupational comparisons of these measures which are thought to establish that police work is among the most stressful of all occupations. Comparative occupational studies, however, seem to indicate that police work does not lead other occupations in the occurrence of physiological ailments. Although suicides may be notably more prevalent among police, it is not clear whether police suicides are the result of work stress or the consequence of other variables, such as the influence of a subculture of violence. Future research in police stress may well be divided into two broad topics -- one dealing with the physiological and other consequences often attributed to police work and the other involving analysis of the conditions of police work and their relationship to police stress. In particular, a systematic analysis of what line officers and administrators find stressful about their jobs must be undertaken. Future research should also measure the relationship between work conditions, job satisfaction, and job performance, as measured by the number and types of arrests, success and failure of subsequent prosecution, citizen commendations and complaints, absenteeism, the number of police officer and union grievances against the department, and the extent of personnel turnover. Tabular data and references are provided.
Index Term(s): Literature reviews; Marital problems; Police occupational stress; Psychological research; Suicide
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