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Research Library

Stress in Policing: Sources, Consequences and Interventions


Research suggests that police work is among the most stressful occupations in the world and officers typically suffer a variety of physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects and symptoms. Officers operating under severe or chronic stress may well be at greater risk of error, accidents, and over-reactions that can compromise their performance, jeopardize public safety, and pose significant liability costs to the organization. This chapter discusses the nature and degree of physiological activation typically experienced by officers on the job, and the positive impact the Blue Courage and Resilience Advantage performance enhancement-training programs have on police officers. Results have shown that the resilience-building training improves officers’ capacity to recognize and self-regulate their responses to stressors in both work and personal contexts. Officers experience improved ability to self-regulate in high-stress contexts and have overall reductions in stress, negative emotions, and depression, as well as increased peacefulness and vitality. Improvements in family relationships, more effective communication and cooperation within work teams, and enhanced work performance have also been found.