UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Stress and coping in law enforcement Della-Rossa, Irina


Stress at work is related to a decrease in performance, psychological disorders and errors made under impaired conditions, and it affects one’s personal life. Police officers experience stress-provoking situations, such as high-speed chases, car accidents, shootings, and crimes in progress. They are also exposed to witnessing a range of traumatic events, such as death or injuries, as a part of their job. The consequences of stress for the police officers include physical and psychological disorders, decreased performance, and in some cases inability to perform their duties. The purpose of this study was to examine the occupational stress of police officers in a large metropolitan area in Western Canada; to examine the differences in stressful experiences of men and women police officers; and to explore the differences and patterns in coping strategies employed by men and women police officers in this sample. A package of surveys and questionnaires were administered to police officers from all of the sections of Operational Division of the Police department. The findings indicated that the officers experienced more stress from the organizational part of their work, than operational, and there was no difference found between men and women. Male and female officers also did not differ in the frequency of the use of coping strategies, except in the usage of instrumental support (for example, seeking assistance, information, or advice about what to do). Women used this coping strategy more often than men did. Men and women differed in patterns of coping with the stress. Implications for counselling and future research are discussed.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada