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Gender Variations of Physiological and Psychological Stress among Police Officers


  • Martin Gächter

    () (Innsbruck)

  • David A. Savage

    () (QUT)

  • Benno Torgler

    () (QUT)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Gächter & David A. Savage & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Gender Variations of Physiological and Psychological Stress among Police Officers," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 252, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, revised 02 Nov 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:252

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2002:92:1:105-108_8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Stotland, Ezra, 1991. "The effects of police work and professional relationships on health," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 371-379.
    6. 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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    More about this item


    Gender; Stress; Police Officers; Burnout; Work-life Balance; Justice;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J81 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Working Conditions
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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