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). .
In situations 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.