Research Handbook on Work and Well-Being
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Research Handbook on Work and Well-Being

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Kathryn M. Page

Almost every person works at some point in their lives. The Research Handbook on Work and Well-Being examines the association of particular work experiences with employee and organizational health and performance.
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Chapter 10: Stress in policing: causes, consequences and remedies

Ronald J. Burke

Abstract

Police work has been described as one of the most dangerous occupations. Many police officers perform their jobs admirably, sometimes putting their lives at risk to save others. Other police officers exhibit destructive personal and job behaviours. Public trust in policing is critical for police work to be successful. This chapter examines risks to police officers, the police culture, police cynicism, and police behaviours and health. Stressors in policing include job demands, role demands, interpersonal demands and physical demands. Officers report greater stressors from organizational demands (from inside their organization-autocratic leadership than from operational demands (what they do everyday –interacting with citizens). New demands include increasing police force diversity, increasing community diversity, heightened scrutiny, and the need to reduce costs of policing. Consequences of stress in policing include cynicism, burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder, spouse abuse, and alcohol abuse. Initiatives found helpful in reducing sources of police stress include leadership training, education in improving coping behaviours, resilience training, and peer counselling.

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