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Police Stress Within Law Enforcement Proposal


The research proposal on the police stress within law enforcement provides the reader with the necessary background information in order to let the reader enter into the swing of things. The paper then dwells on the sources that have also approached the issue of police stress among different departments before, and a reasonable conclusion is drawn on the basis of the processed data. The reader gets acquainted with the sample population of the research proposal. There are as well described the methods of research and data collection proposed by the author. The author of the research proposal reaches a rational verdict concerning the insinuations of further investigation and discusses the present strengths and limitations of the study.


Every time someone calls 911, they want their emergency to be dealt with professionally and handled proficiently. The police will rush to the robbed workplace, the firefighters will promptly drench a burning household, the ambulance staff will take care of an injured person and quickly take him or her to the closest hospital. People believe that this is how it should always be and take these services for granted because of the talent and devotion of the employees who mostly put their life on the line for the sake of public wellbeing.

Both male and female workers are regularly exposed to different kinds of distressing events and everyday gravities that necessitate self-protective durability of attitude, character, and extensive training (Paton & Violanti, 2012). They would not be able to do their jobs efficiently if they did not have the determination. Every now and then, though, the stress is overwhelming, and the very durability that enables smooth working in their regular responsibilities now becomes an impairment to these assistants seeking assistance for themselves. Police officers are often described as the staff that is exposed to the maximal number of stressful situations. Obviously, it is critical to recognize how to provide the best available psychosomatic services to the officers who are trying to cope with the accumulated stress.

It is important to know more about the topic for the reason that it is a rather awkward situation when the person that is usually seen by society as tough and ready to help anyone anytime is himself or herself in the need of help. This oxymoron is what makes this issue so important. The servants of the law suffering from prolonged stress need urgent help. One of the possible solutions could be an attempt to identify stress at an early stage before the stress begins to impact on the performance of the police officer and his or her sanity.

There are many factors that affect the mental state of a police officer from what he or she saw and experienced during the shift to family and personal circumstances. Police officers who faced a serious, stressful situation require immediate professional help, and there should be no exception. One of the possible ways of finding new strategies for dealing with stress in police officers can be the review and analysis of the literature written by the authors who previously conducted research on this topic and offered their vision of the situation regarding the stress within law enforcement.

Literature review

Research on police stress made by Hickman, Fricas, Strom, and Pope in 2011 has been elaborated out of some hypothetical backgrounds, but the factual base is restricted by a usual dependence on self-statement stress assessment. Their research defines an inventive approach to reviewing police stress that tries to surpass some of these restrictions by turning to a thorough, instantaneous, and spatially fixed evaluation of an officer’s stress reply during the shift. The officers’ heart rate has been picked as the evaluation measure. A preliminary study was limited to using just one officer in order to understand whether this procedure is practicable for impending research.

The test study confirmed that incessant heart rate measurement during the control officer’s workday was conceivable. It has also been found that the data could be operated in the time-space framework for the purpose of studying possible major stress catalysts. The study discusses the most likely positive sides, limitations, the issues that could be encountered in the process of implementation, and forthcoming guidelines. In conclusion, the results show that the practice is both practicable and appropriate for methodical revisions of police stress, with the possibility to extend our understanding of the main causes of why officers are affected by stress (Hickman et al., 2011).

Lucas, Weidner, and Janisse in their 2012 research point out that the differences between employees and workplace sources of stress both contribute to seeing a job as stressful. Nevertheless, the comparative importance of these factors causing the work stress is not well outlined. Furthermore, the extent to which work stress also echoes exclusive matches between particular employees and workplace sources of stress is also blurred. In this research, they used a theory of generalizabilization to stipulate and associate sources of discrepancy in stress accompanying the police work.

One hundred and fifteen US police officers provided the estimates of more than fifty stress sources normally related to the policing responsibilities (Lucas et al., 2012). The major and minor stress evaluation rankings showed variances among officers in predispositions to commonly see the sources of stress as battering (15–16% officer outcome), and, correspondingly, the prevailing opinion among the officers that several stress sources should be seen as more stressful than others (19–20% stressor effect).

A supplementary investigation discovered distinct differences and stressor features linked to the respective discrepancy constituent, together with officer-stress source dealings. This can be seen if one compares the officers showing a low level of anxiousness to the exceedingly anxious officers. The latter gave lower scores to the majority of the stress sources and mostly seen them as not grave or important. The research also suggests an approach that would embrace the nonstop review and assessment of the stress sources.

Yun, Kim, Jung, and Borhanian in 2013 conducted research in South Korea that featured a sample of police officers. They were driven by the possibility to inspect whether police stressors discovered in the American works are as well valid in the South Korean setting. A sample of the officers in an urbanite city testified the incidence with which they had been meeting the seven types of police sources of stress and professed the somatization warning signs.

The study found that workplace-personal struggle and oppression at the hands of people were called the most momentous forecasters of officers’ stress-associated somatization indicators (Yun et al., 2013). Dissimilar to the US studies, the existing study did not expose the regulating effects of managing strategies and societal support. Nevertheless, the effects of the stress sources on somatization indications were intermediated by critical coping approaches. This study backs the extensive literature review on police stress factors.

Regehr, Leblanc, Barath, Balch, and Birze in their 2013 study wanted to comprehend the phenomenon of psychosomatic pain and physical stress in police communication operators better. One-hundred and thirteen police communication operators from both country and city areas completed surveys that addressed emotional anguish (severe nervousness or misery), strategies to deal with stress, and the degree of control. The operators showed a high predisposition towards the post-traumatic stress disorder but had levels of nervousness and despair that were within regular limits.

Levels of stress and downheartedness improved with years of service. Emotion-absorbed coping was the sturdiest prognosticator of PTSD, nervousness, and unhappiness. The styles of dealing with stress were not related to physical stress (Regehr et al., 2013). Social sustenance was harmfully connected with despair; inner control was undesirably related to downheartedness and nervousness, but not post-traumatic stress or cortisol. For the reason that coping strategies are adjustable, they have to be the emphasis of workplace intercessions with the purpose of justifying the risk of anguish as a result of employment.

In 2014, Patterson, Chung, and Swan presented efficient research that was conducted to inspect the impact of stress coping strategies on outcomes among police officers. The examination methods involved going through digital catalogs, periodicals, websites, and communicating with the authors. Incidence criteria were experimental studies and any kind of stress coping intercession given to police officers or citizen law administration staff.

The sample contained 900 partakers, with an average age of 34 years, and an average of 10 years of serving in the police. The middling interval of the intrusions was 11 hours with a series of 30 minutes to 24 hours. Overall, 220 impacts were inspected during the investigation and analysis of the results (Patterson et al., 2014). Effect proportions were considered discretely for physical, psychosomatic, and behavioral results. The overall results of the research let the academics suggest that the interventions were not resultative. Mediator analyses outcomes did not demonstrate any evocative differences.


All five research papers provided great insight into the problem of dealing with stress within law enforcement. The strong point, in this case, is the fact that the literature review dwelled on a variety of police departments. This allows the researcher to evaluate the current situation in the key police departments and estimate the possibility of stress occurrence. Five different approaches to the issue that are presented in the papers provide an insight into the problem of dealing with stress and calculating the possibility of its relapse.

The general state of affairs, possible coping methods, and stress level assessment methods are also reviewed in the paper. There is a gap in the reviewed literature that is expressed by the uncontrollability of the emotional background of any police officer. This feature does not allow the researcher to evaluate the seriousness of the police officers’ stress and its enormity fully. Future studies might advance knowledge in the subject area with the use of approaches that would be aimed at preventing the stresses, not assessing them after the event.


As for a social science researcher, the way to go about studying this topic might be a long time analysis of a certain sample of police officers. This approach would help to find a possible pattern in the genesis of various stresses that inevitably appear throughout the police officer’s employment. The study should be as precise as possible in order to make it probable to foresee the display of the stresses in both the officers that are less and more likely to be overrun by a stressful situation. This essentially should be done with the purpose to help those police officers who are on the edge of indulging in stress or were exposed to a stressor.

The police officers from the sample should be continuously surveyed to an extent where it is evident that the officer got rid of the stress or was able to avoid it successfully. The sample should be a number of 100 to 150 police officers that can also be (but are not obliged to) divided into three groups that would include a control group, a group of experienced police officers, and recruits. This approach would help in elaborating on a coping strategy in addition to the probability of finding the stress genesis pattern.

One of the reasonable opportunities to lead the research would be a careful assessment of patrol officers and police detectives on duty and off duty. It might be one of the most productive ways to research the subject for the reason that these particular police officers encounter the most stressful events in comparison to their colleagues from other departments. Each and every day for these police officers is the nonstop exposure to the risks which eventually outgrow into major stresses.

It should also be noted that the work in the police leaves an imprint on an individual’s personality. The same can be told about the personal life experience that also has a lot of impact on the psychological health of a police officer and his or her family’s well-being. Another reason is to pick police detectives and patrol officers for the research purposes for the fact that these two departments possess an enormous array of stresses that are linked with human behavior and interaction compared to other departments where it is not so explicit.

The data collection procedure should be simple, yet effective. The author of the research proposal, on one hand, chooses the approach where the police officers sample fills in the surveys and they are thoroughly reviewed afterward. When the researcher processes the data, there is going to be the possibility to put down a matrix reflecting the results of the research. On the other hand, there is a possibility to observe and follow the officers’ behavior patterns and their ability (or the lack of it) to withstand a variety of stressors and subsequent stresses.

This would be helpful from the inspector’s point of view and provide the researcher with the necessary visual data that could be translated into the factual conclusions regarding the premises to the stressful situation and the ways of coping with its consequences. The author of this research considers the mixed approach that embraces both methods described above to be the perfect strategy in figuring out the risks of being exposed to a stressor and coping with it afterward.


The author of the research proposal suggests a method of calculating the foreseeable stresses in advance. By further researching the topic, the author of the research reached a verdict that the issue of police officers dealing with different types of stresses is inevitable but rarely turned to. The projected strengths and limitations of the proposed study are, consequently, the versatility of the research methods and the human factor.

The versatility of the research is an obvious advantage as the researcher receives a big amount of data from the research sample. When the outcome processing is over, the researcher is going to be able to draw accurate conclusions with no allegations. The limitation of the study is presented by the human factor due to the fact that the researcher cannot evaluate the survey error percentage. Of course, a reasonable error percentage can be accepted, but this would not let the research provide the percentage of error that would be 1% or even less.


Hickman, M. J., Fricas, J., Strom, K. J., & Pope, M. W. (2011). Mapping Police Stress. Police Quarterly, 14(3), 227-250. doi:10.1177/1098611111413991

Lucas, T., Weidner, N., & Janisse, J. (2012). Where Does Work Stress Come From? A Generalizability Analysis of Stress in Police Officers. Psychology & Health, 27(12), 1426-1447. doi:10.1080/08870446.2012.687738

Paton, D., & Violanti, J. M. (2012). Working in High Risk Environments: Developing Sustained Resilience. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Patterson, G. T., Chung, I. W., & Swan, P. W. (2014). Stress Management Interventions for Police Officers and Recruits: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 10(4), 487-513. doi:10.1007/s11292-014-9214-7

Regehr, C., Leblanc, V. R., Barath, I., Balch, J., & Birze, A. (2013). Predictors of Physiological Stress and Psychological Distress in Police Communicators. Police Practice and Research, 14(6), 451-463. doi:10.1080/15614263.2012.736718

Yun, I., Kim, S., Jung, S., & Borhanian, S. (2013). A Study on Police Stressors, Coping Strategies, and Somatization Symptoms among South Korean Frontline Police Officers. Policing Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 36(4), 787-802. doi:10.1108/pijpsm-03-2013-0020

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