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Police Stress, State-Trait Anxiety, and Stressors Among U.S. Marshals

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 32 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2004 Pages: 631-641
Deborah Wilkins Newman; M. LeeAnne Rucker-Reed
Date Published
11 pages
This study determined occupational stress levels and stressors of a sample of deputy U.S. marshals, replicating Storch's and Panzarella's 1996 study of stress levels and stressors of police officers.
A total of 100 deputy U.S. marshals from offices across the country responded to the Spielberger et al.'s (1983) State Trait Anxiety Inventory, which consisted of open-ended questions designed to determine the likes and dislikes of being a deputy in general and in the current assignment; frequency of thoughts concerning the possibility of injuries and illness while working; actual on-the-job injuries; and retirement expectations. The variables found to be associated with stress in deputy U.S. marshals were similar to those found related to stress in local police officers, i.e., organizational variables such as problems with management, bad bosses, and the working environment. Also similar to local police officers, the inherent dangers of the job and encounters with human misery were not among the stress factors for deputies. Although one of the major dislikes of local police officers was their work schedule, which included rotating shifts, work schedules were not an issue for deputy U.S. marshals. Perhaps this was because U.S. marshals generally worked only regular daytime hours and not on weekends. The findings of this study could be used to create a better working environment and to reduce stress levels, thereby providing a more efficient and effective law enforcement agency. Further study is required to determine the best techniques for mitigating stressors within the agencies and to reduce stress levels among individuals. 3 tables and 43 references