Stressors Faced by Female Police Officers

The stress and strain in female police officers day in and day out may result in broken families and relationships. It can also cause depression, anxiety, and mental ill-health. Ever since the creation of the Law Enforcement Administration in 1968, a tremendous amount of research on policing, police departments and police officers in the United States, has been carried out. Examining the effects of service, work and gender activities of the perception of officers of the workplace and their general work world, revealed that this perception is closely related to what they do than who they are. Police work tends to be regarded as inherently stressful because of the personal risk of being exposed to violence, confrontation, and the day to day involvement in various traumatic incidents. The stress faced by the police officers has been referred to as the “police paradox” because both the safe and unsafe aspects of the job combine to produce the stress symptoms. Policing is considered to be a highly stressful job especially for female police officers, who are caught up between the increasing threats of violence on our streets. In research focusing on the workplace stress problems for both men and women in the police force, a survey carried out in 25 departments revealed that although both men and women experienced many similar problems, the gendered nature of the police organizations causes unique stresses for women.
Work stress is observed to be associated with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and chronic back pain. They also assessed that work characterized stress, coping strategies and health-related outcomes from a sample of police officers aged 50. The findings suggested that older officers especially the female police officers are at an increased risk of being subjected to work stress-related health problems if they rely on risky health behaviors in order to cope with stress. Although both the male and the female police officers are exposed to relatively the same types of work stressors, the female officers report higher rates of sex discrimination and prejudice which contributes to psychological distress.