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Police Stress: An Analysis of the Impact on Child

Sexual Exploitation Investigators


The psychological and physiological effects of work-related stress on law enforcement causes high morbidity and mortality rates and rates of alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide higher than the national average. The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed-methods study was to examine whether work-related stress experienced by child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child sexual abuse (CSA) investigators differ from that of other duty assigned subgroups. I used Karasek’s job demands-control model as the theoretical framework for this study. I conducted the study within a medium sized law enforcement agency in eastern Washington State. The sample in the quantitative study consisted of 27 law enforcement officers from 17 duty-assigned subgroups who completed McCreary and Thompson’s Operational Police Stress Survey (PSQ-Op) and Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire (PSQ-Org). The sample in the qualitative study consisted of 7 law enforcement officers who answered 5 researcher developed questions during a telephone interview. Descriptive statistics, a Pearson’s correlation analysis, and linear regression analysis of the PSQ-Op and PSQ-Org revealed no significant difference in reported work-related stress experienced within the duty-assigned subgroups, revealing no correlative difference of stress experienced by CSE and CSA investigators and the other duty assigned subgroups due to job demands and job control. Content analysis of the qualitative interviews revealed themes that supported the finding of the quantitative study. The findings of this study support the need for law enforcement leaders to take preemptive measures to mitigate the effects of work-related stress on all law enforcement officers. 

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Reducing Officer Stress: Leadership’s Role

Published in Law Enforcement Today, December 3, 2018:

As the landscape of police work evolves, so to do the men and women who lead, supervise, and manage in law enforcement agencies. One thing that has remained constant is the fact that law enforcement is regarded as one of our nation’s most stressful occupations. Work-related stress, overall, has a devastating impact on our economy and our health.

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Leadership strategies to reduce officer stress

Published on February 7, 2019

What can leaders, managers and supervisors within a law enforcement agency do to mitigate work-related stress experienced by officers?

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