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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78307 Find in a Library
Title: Stress and Police Personnel
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1981)  Pages:195-208
Author(s): L Territo; H J Vetter
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses various aspects and manifestations of job stress in police officers, including alcoholism, suicide, and marital problems.
Abstract: Police work is highly stressful, since it is one of the few occupations where employees are asked continually to face physical dangers and to put their lives on the line at any time. Most of the law enforcement stressors can be grouped into four categories: (1) organizational practices and characteristics, (2) criminal justice system practices and characteristics, (3) public practices and characteristics, and (4) police work itself. Studies have shown that the 15 most prevalent stress warning signs for police officers include sudden changes in behavior, erratic work habits, increased sick time due to minor problems, inability to maintain a train of thought, and excessive worrying. Although precise figures are unavailable, police department officials have reported informally that as many as 25 percent of the officers in their respective departments have serious alcohol problems. Although uncommon among young police officers, suicides are prevalent among older, retiring or just retired officers. One study concluded that available data indicate male police officers to be more likely to kill themselves than men in other occupations. The article also discusses stress and the police administrator, stress and the police family, and marital problems as an administrative concern. Organizational and individual programs for coping with stress share several similarities: efficient preemployment screening to weed out those who cannot cope with a high-stress job, increased practical stress training for police personnel, and training programs for spouses so they can better understand potential problems. Tables and about 40 references are included.
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Job pressure; Police occupational stress
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