Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

The Convergent and Divergent Impact of Work Environment, Work-Family Conflict, and Stress Coping Mechanisms on Female and Male Police Officers

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

The Convergent and Divergent Impact of Work Environment, Work-Family Conflict, and Stress Coping Mechanisms on Female and Male Police Officers

Article excerpt

The role of the police in the society can neither be disregarded nor belittled; without the police force to enforce the law, which facilitates reduction of crime and disorders and to protect individuals as well as national property, human coexistence would be unbearable. The police forces are divided into various arms according to the issues in the society and the structuring varies from one state to another as stipulated in those nations' constitutions. For many centuries prior to the 19th, the police force was almost purely for men as it was argued that thejob descriptions were not suitable for women. But as we are moving ahead in time we can see both the genders working together as well as facing similar kind of problems in the job front. Police officers, in the performance of their duties, face a range of potentially stressful situations and events. These have the capacity to cause significant personal distress, leading to short-and long-term changes in mood, psychological functioning and social activity. In response to the stresses of thejob, officers must utilize any number of coping strategies to deal with their occupational stress. Occupation stress isa renowned problem in police personals.

Police work is the occupation that has been identified with high level of stress. Responsibilities of police officers are varied and may differ from one another. Usual duties of police officers relate to keeping the law enforcement, peace keeping, people protection, protection of properties, and finally investigating and interrogating of crimes. They have to respond to unexpected situations that may arise when they are on duty. More over police officers have to maintain orders and consequent reporting to the higher officials. Because of work-stress police officers are experiencing interpersonal relationship problems. The rates of suicides among the police officers keep on increasing every year. Using drugs, smoking and consuming alcohol are the major strategies used by police officers. They are various studies done in this area. Still the strategies to combat this stress are unclear and due to this reasons the police departments facealotofdifficulties in solving theproblem.

Women In Police Force

In a 1990 study of 1,087 police officers from 24 police department across the USA, Morash and Haarr (1995) found that for women, 39 percent, and for men, 28 percent of the discrepancy in stress could be explained by workplace problems. For women, lack of influence on policing, language harassment, problems with racial and ethnic group bias, being treated like they were "invisible," and overestimates of physical abilities were the significant predictors. F or men, the strongest predictors were lack of influence and being ridiculed and set up for failure by other officers; weaker but still statistically significant predictors for men were overestimates of physical ability and language harassment. Several researchers have identified unique stressors for female police officers. Ellison and Genz (1983) identified women's unique stressors as lack of acceptance by the male subculture and the related denial ofneeded information, sponsorship from supervisors and colleagues, alliances and security. Wexler and Logan (1983) identified the woman-specific stressors of chauvinist, negative attitudes of male officers, group blame, responses by male officers, and lack of role models. Finally, Goolkasian et al. (1985) identified women's special stressors as disapproval from fellow officers in the academy and in first jobs, coworkers' demands that the women prove themselves, and lack of informal training and guidance.

Stress researchers have found that gender is a highly relevant factor in examining the sources and coping strategies of stress among female police officers (Brown &Campbell, 1990). After all, female officers have become a visible token group in policing, easily singled out for pressure (Wherle-Einhom, 1980). Gender roles and genderappropriate behavior constitute two major sources of stress for them. …

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