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Abstract

The police force experience work-related stressors due to the nature of work that police officers have to undertake. The problem is a major concern, because these stressors cause psychological and physiological health problems. A review of other studies surmounts to the fact that police officers experience stress in the workplace. Following these findings, this research explores how gender-based discrimination causes stress to both male and female police officers. It will employ the use of semi-structured survey questions delivered via questionnaires and interviews. The sample size will include 90 police officers and 5 police administrators.

Stress, Gender, and Policing: Assignment 2

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Introduction

Dowley & Arai (2008) studied gender issues that affect the police department and cause stress to police officers. The main argument of this research is that there is a correlation between levels of stress and gender bias. It is the hypothesis that they make. The 30-item scale for the examination of psychological and physiological causes of stress includes study’s dependent variables. Independent ones involve questions, which respondents ask when collecting data. Results received by Dowley & Arai (2008) in their work show that male officers have less stress levels than female ones, and that the latter consider themselves highly held at work, while the former do not think so.

On the other hand, Patterson (2003) studies the impact of work stressors on police officers with respect to psychological distress. The study hypothesizes that both coping and seeking social support have effects on the experiences of police officers in the workplace. The study uses salient demographic variables that are relevant given the previous research on psychology. They include marital status, age, and, more significantly, gender. Patterson (2003) found out that female police officers report distress matters in the workplace more frequently than male ones.

The police profession has a number of stressors, which, according to Violanti & Aron (1995), affect officers when they are discharged of their duties. These stressors are either organizational or inherent. They hypothesize the following demographic factors: race, age, and gender, which cause stress to officers. Demographic variables are tested in the study, and results indicate that gender issues are factors of stress in officers. Results indicate that witnessing another police officer killed and being killed in line of duty are te main police stressors. As a result of it, counselling sessions should be organized for affected officers.

The final article by Parker & Griffin (2002) explores how the harassment of female officers in the male-dominated occupation affects the police force. Harassment is the main cause of overperformance demand, which results into psychological distress. Hence, scientists hypothesize that gender harassment is a serious problem affecting the police force. “Overperformance demands refer to an individual’s perception that they need to overperform to gain acceptance and recognition within the workplace” (Parker & Griffin, 2002, p. 196). The study uses control variables of such demographic trends as rack, age, marital status, and education to get results. The latter indicate that gender harassment causes psychological damages to female officers, and that there is a relationship between it and psychological distress in the male-dominated occupation, particularly in any police department. 

Limitations of the Studies

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The work by Parker & Griffin (2002) has limitations, because it is based on a self-report that is associated with common-method variance. It may lead to a general negative response during data collection. The study by Violanti & Aron (1995) used cross-sectional data, and in the PSS, there was no inclusion of how frequently stressors had occurred. Patterson (2003) also notes that the study is limited because of the use of self-report data and proposes the use of semi-structured interviews. In addition, he did not measure social support and its source. Dowley & Arai (2008) suggest that future studies should explore the relationship between stress levels and gender harassment. It is because the work does not analyse any findings concerning the relationship, but it is critical in understanding stressors affecting police officers.                      

Restatement of the Problem

Police officers suffer from psychological and physiological distress due to their unique workplace environment (Dowley & Arai, 2008). They a number of work-related stressors that may have short-term and long-term effects on their health (Patterson, 2003). Parker & Griffin (2002) observe that there are gains in making sure that the traditionally male-dominated occupation involves more female officers. However, this has never been easy because of the findings that gender-based stress affects females, adding to the already existing stressors in the police force. Hence, there is the need to establish, whether gender discrimination will cause stress among officers. 

Statement of the Hypothesis

In order to explore this topic and address the problem identified above, this study develops the following hypothesis: gender-based harassment causes stress to both female and male police officers. It is a new and vital concept suggested by Dowley & Arai (2008). The dependent variable will be the role of gender as a stressor among police officers, while the independent one will be opinions of interviewees.  

Method

Given the limitations of cross-sectional and self-reports, this research will employ the use of semi-structured survey questions to collect data. These will be delivered to respondents through questionnaires and interviews to answer the research questions and find resolutions to the topic in general. 

Operationalization

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Independent variables will test the respondents’ attitude to how gender discrimination affects stress levels of police officers (questions in surveys). Dependent variables (gender-based discrimination) will be measured using the 30-item scale employed by Dowley & Arai (2008). It will be based on their findings that gender harassment is a stressor for police officers. In order to get valid and reliable results, respondents will be asked to sign a consent form to participate in the study. In addition, the study will only involve employed police officers.  

Sampling

The sample population will be 90 police officers and 5 highly ranked police administrators. The 90-sample size will be asked to respond to semi-structured survey questions, while administrators will be interviewed. The credibility of respondents will be ascertained by engaging only police officers in the survey. Their names will be identified in liaison with administrators.  

Analysis and Discussion

After the analysis of data, the discussion will review the finding of the study with respect to the research topic and the research questions. The findings will address a relevant shortfall in the previous research by Dowley & Arai (2008). Moreover, this section will discuss limitations and suggestions for the future investigation.

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