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Routine Occupational Stress Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

This paper describes an empirical study (n = 733) of occupational stress conducted in three urban police organization’s (New York, San Francisco and Oakland/San Jose). The primary goal of the research was to determine if routine occupational stressors or critical incident exposure caused more psychological distress among the officers. The secondary goal of the research was to determine if women or minority officers suffered any higher incidence of routine occupational stress due to discriminatory work environments. The researchers focused on the relationship between routine work stress and psychological distress as resultant the workplace environment. The study was conducted in1998 and 1999. ...view middle of the document...

The WEI was stratified purposely by the researchers as a factor analyses with five possible resultant outcome models. The WEI focused on highly accurate scale reliabilities (internal consistencies), and between/within scale correlations to common psychological stressors. In the study, researchers also considered Critical incident exposure (CIHQ) as a predictor across the five WEI models. Although, preliminary validity analyses in other established research has suggested that WEI scales may discriminate between different job duties within a single work environment, the researcher’s multi-model application of this WEI appears to have mitigated most of these problems by factoring in outside stressors such as relationship and financial problems.
The methodology focused on constructing a WEI that was tuned specifically to the workplace environment of police officers. Prior to the research effort, the researchers theorized that certain behaviors could be strong indicators (or predictors) of stress disorders. The WEI questions were structured with 53 general questions related to the officers overall psychological health. Thirteen questions were police-specific about their jobs and how each officer related and coped in the line of duty. Prior to commencing the survey, researchers conducted a beta evaluation of the potential answers and determined 5 outcome models based on those answers. In the beta testing conceptual distinctions were made between stressors and potential external sources of adverse reactions (family and relationship problems) to improve the internal consistencies of the WEI. The researchers design focused on felt stress in officers that manifested as self-reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, and social dysfunction.
The survey pool between the departments was weighted to include higher numbers of women and minority participants to help determine if these officers experienced higher than normal amount of occupational stress. The researchers established a quota of 50% white, 25% Hispanic, and 25% African American, and a male to female ration of four men to one female participant for inclusion in the sample pool. Models were constructed for men and women separately; the researchers hoped that different predictors of distress in terms of the officer's gender and operational role could be discovered. By modeling specific controls points, the WEI sought to control the number and types of critical incident exposures by omitting certain officers from the sample pool to limit possibly inconsistent predictors for PTSD and other serious psychological disorders. The researchers submitted 1200 WEI’s to the three departments, 600 to NYPD, 300 to the SFPD, and 300 to the Oakland/SJ PD. When the researchers received back the WEI surveys and sorted them by the racial and gender quotas, and...

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