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Gender Variations of Physiological and Psychological Stress among Police Officers

Listed author(s):
  • Martin Gächter



  • David A. Savage



  • Benno Torgler



This paper analyses the effect of gender on reported and perceived levels of stress through examination of both the physical and psychological indicators. It may be interesting to work with police data due to high stress levels among police officers and the fact that the work environment is male dominant (females are a minority). In our study we not only explore gender differences, but also whether job and private environmental factors such as effective cooperation between units, a higher trust in the work partner, a higher level of work-life-balance and home stability, and a higher level of interactional fairness, affect female and male officers differently. Using multivariate regression analysis of police officers we find that female officers are significantly more likely to report suffering from physical stress indicators than their male counterparts while no gender differences are observable in regards to psychological stress. Moreover, a higher level of trust and cooperation, and a higher level of interactional fairness at work are not able to absorb physical stress among female, while these factors have a strong impact on male officers. On the other hand, for both, female and male officers, work-life balance and stability at home have the tendency of reducing physical stress.

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Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 252.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 02 Nov 2009
Date of revision: 02 Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:252
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  1. Swatt, Marc L. & Gibson, Chris L. & Piquero, Nicole Leeper, 2007. "Exploring the utility of general strain theory in explaining problematic alcohol consumption by police officers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 596-611, December.
  2. He, Ni & Zhao, Jihong & Ren, Ling, 2005. "Do race and gender matter in police stress? A preliminary assessment of the interactive effects," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 535-547.
  3. Stephens, Christine & Long, Nigel & Miller, Ian, 1997. "The impact of trauma and social support on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A study of New Zealand police officers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 303-314.
  4. Stotland, Ezra, 1991. "The effects of police work and professional relationships on health," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 371-379.
  5. Carmel, Sara & Anson, Ofra & Levenson, Arie & Bonneh, Dan Y. & Maoz, Benjamin, 1991. "Life events, sense of coherence and health: Gender differences on the kibbutz," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1089-1096, January.
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