Police officers stress
Police work is very stressful due to the pressures of the job, and strict legal limitations. Many researchers have examined the basic stressors involved in policing. Stress causes mental or physical tension or strain. In a sense, stress causes a restrictive hold on the body and mind, which causes a person to act in ways that are out of the norm for them. Stress can be described as the force itself, meaning whatever is bringing the force upon a person. Violanti and Aron believe that there are two major categories mentioned by officers. These are organizational practices, and the inherent nature of police work (Spielberger, 1981). Most of the reviewed research argues that police officers change there coping strategies and behaviors overtime, with some of these changes actually contributing to officers reported stress experiences and stress levels. In everyday work duties, police officers are involved in a number of activities that may be very stressful, and constant exposure to these stressful events possibly leads to a number of psychological and physical outcomes. In longer terms, individuals may experience changes in their personalities, which reflect alterations of their typical coping strategies (Skolnick, 1973).
s of extreme stress, officers may display the symptoms usually associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is common for individuals who undergo a traumatic event to experience such emotional states such as fear, anxiety, guilt, depression, sadness, anger, and shock. Cognitive effects include difficulty with decision-making, concentration, and memory processes (Reiser and Geiger, 1984). Much of the stress and the ability to handle it is determined by the police officers personality. Police officers personality characteristics suggest that the majority of officers have a common sense approach to situations, are practical, and prefer a working environment that is routine, organized, and carefully regulated. Researchers also have reported that police officers are typically suspicious, distant, cynical, and authoritarian (Balch, 1972).
Stress can stem off of these personality traits because the police officer would be acting differently than every one around him or her. The personality traits of cynicism, suspiciousness, and being distant are associated with the Type A behavior pattern (Rosenman, 1978). Type A people typically see themselves as hard working, competitive, and intolerant of, and easily irritated by the actions of others. They like to rely on their own resources rather than working cooperatively, and they tend not to use available social supports (Rosenman, 1978). Stress is more likely in Type A people because they try to handle the pressures of the job on their own, without any assistance. Police officers grow very suspicious over the course of their careers. There is always the possibility of dangerous events occurring, which makes it necessary for officers to be alert to potential violence and danger. Right from the beginning with police training, the officers are taught to react automatically with care and suspicion (Kroes, 1985). Police officers also become distant, by emotionally detaching themselves from being unsympathetic to the people they come into contact with. Becoming distant may develop as a means of coping with stressful occupational activities. Cynicism, which is being doubtful of human sincerity and goodness, is also a trait police officers’ may develop. Authoritarianism develops from the police officers dominance and assertiveness, which are traits they display consistently given their job duties (Niederhoffer, 1967). Numerous studies have suggested that many police officers develop these personality traits on the job as a means of coping with stressful aspects of their work (Hillgren and Bond, 1975).
Police work is more stressful than practically all other occupations, due to the fact that the stress comes from the dangers and repeated encounters with violent people and victims of violence. A study done by Storch and Panzarella combined a standardized measure of stress with a questionnaire about job stressors, individual job and career variables, and personal variables. The most consistent among these stressors are organizational variables. Examples of organizational variables are personnel policies, relationships with superiors, and working conditions, as well as the public, media, and legal system. Organizational stressors in police work are lack of promotional opportunity and, actual pro
Some topics in this essay:
Police, Constable, Police Officer, Sheriff, Police Brutality, Stress, Law Enforcement, Legal Professions, Aron, Rosenman,
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