Mental, physical, and behavioral outcomes associated with perceived work stress in police officers

Robyn R.M. Gershon, Briana Barocas, Allison N. Canton, Li Xianbin Li, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study estimates the effects of perceived work stress in police officers and determines the impact of coping on both perceived work stress and health. Officers from a large, urban police department (N = 1,072) completed detailed questionnaires. Exposure to critical incidents, workplace discrimination, lack of cooperation among coworkers, and job dissatisfaction correlated significantly with perceived work stress. Work stress was significantly associated with adverse outcomes, including depression and intimate partner abuse. Officers who relied on negative or avoidant coping mechanisms reported both higher levels of perceived work stress and adverse health outcomes. Results have implications for improving stress-reducing efforts among police officers. Interventions that address modifiable stressors and promote effective coping and resiliency will probably be most beneficial in minimizing police stress and associated outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-289
Number of pages15
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Coping
  • Law enforcement
  • Police stress
  • Stress
  • Work stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law


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