Routine occupational stress

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This paper describes an empirical study (n = 733) of occupational stress conducted in three urban police organization’s (New York, San Francisco and Oakland/San Jose). The primary goal of the research was to determine if routine occupational stressors or critical incident exposure caused more psychological distress among the officers. The secondary goal of the research was to determine if women or minority officers suffered any higher incidence of routine occupational stress due to discriminatory work environments. The researchers focused on the relationship between routine work stress and psychological distress as resultant the workplace environment. The study was conducted in1998 and 1999. Officers were selected using a stratified random model that over recruited women and minority participants for the study in relation to the individual departments racial and gender make-up. The researchers approached occupational stress as a routine aspect of the police work. Categorically the researchers wanted to prove that the response officers demonstrated when presented with work demands is not matched to their job duties, but instead is attributable to their individual ability to cope with stress. The research suggests that reactions to the officer’s occupational stress can be mental, physical or emotional. The researcher’s hypothesis suggested that a stressor can lead the body to have a physiological reaction that can strain a person physically as well as mentally. To test the hypothesis veracity the researchers developed a Work Environment Inventory (WEI) to empirically assess the officer’s exposure to work related stressors, while controlling or excluding traumatic stressors (critical incidents such as homicides and sex crimes encoun... ... middle of paper ... ... the researcher’s hypothesis that discriminatory work environments within the individual departments caused a higher incidence of stress among minority and women officers. The data actually revealed that women officers had a lower incidence of manifested stress and minority officers reported similar levels as white officers reported in the survey. The report on the predictor relevance further supported the current research model’s, demonstrating the WEI as the most effective predictor of PTSD in four out of five model types. The fifth model type for PTSD found CIHQ as the best predictor, but the researchers felt this was attributable and within the 7-10% incidence rates of PTSD reported in other emergency professions. The results of the research supports and is congruent with other referenced studies (Crank et al., 1991,Kroes et al., 1974, and Wexler et al., 1983)

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