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Stress, Gender and Policing: The Impact of Perceived Gender Discrimination on Symptoms of Stress

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 10 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2008 Pages: 123-135
Kenneth Dowler; Bruce Arai
Date Published
13 pages
This study examined gender differences in the perception of gender discrimination and in levels of stress.
The results indicate that male and female officers have conflicting attitudes about the amount and nature of gender discrimination within police work. The findings further suggest that female officers experience higher levels of stress. Additionally, the results indicate a weak relationship between perceptions of gender related jokes and stress levels for females. Male officers who reported that females were held to a higher standard experienced lower levels of stress. The most important stressor for both males and females was the perception of job-related problems. The study iterates that police work is inherently stressful, and that the traditionally male-dominated field of policing may create increased obstacles and stressors for women officers. The work sought to examine gender differences on the perceptions of gender discrimination and stress. Data were taken from Project SHIELDS, which gathered information on the relationship between police stress and domestic violence in police families among officers in Baltimore, MD. Nine precincts were selected randomly, as were the one or two roll calls in each shift during the study duration. The officers were asked to volunteer to complete a questionnaire, rather than being asked at random to do so. The resulting sample comprised 1,104 officers, with a response rate of 68 percent. Tables, references