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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77518 Find in a Library
Title: Stress in the Police Service
Journal: Federal Police Journal  Volume:1  Issue:7  Dated:(April 1980)  Pages:9,20-26,31
Author(s): B Swanton
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper discusses the causes and results of stress among Australian police officers.
Abstract: Although research into the health effects of police occupational stress is just beginning in Australia, the number of deaths among officers from ischaemic heart disease appears to be higher than that for the general population. Police officers experience some stressors that are also found in other occupations. Among these is administrative stress resulting from excessive paperwork, from a sense of exclusion from decisionmaking which affects the work situation, and from a lack of support from superordinates. Stress for job conflicts arises when officers observe that offenders escape from the legal consequences of their acts and when officers are granted a large amount of discretion. In addition, many officers, especially in the lower ranks, feel underpaid and a lack of social prestige in relation to the complexity and demand of their jobs. Like many other professionals, police must live with the psychological and social effects of continual shift work. They must also handle the stress arising from frequent court appearances, from public criticism, and from constant exposure to value systems and lifestyles contrary to their own. Furthermore, repeated exposure to physical danger is a powerful stressor. Among the emotional effects of stress are excessive drinking, promiscuity, reclusiveness, suicide, proneness to accidents, loss of interest in work, and depression. Stress can also have such physiological effects as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, peptic ulcers, and hypertension. Counseling and advisory assistance for police officers and their families are recommended. A 20-item reference list is included.
Index Term(s): Australia; Job pressure; Police occupational stress
Note: Paper read at the Monthly Meeting of the ACT Police Wives Club, Dickson, ACT (Australia), June 28, 1976.
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