The stress and strain 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, 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 ( Winfree, Jr. Guiterman & Mays, 1997). 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" (Cullen et. al. 1983) 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 a 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 cause unique stresses for women (Morash & Haarr, 1995).
Work stress is observed to be associated with depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress symptoms and chronic back pain (Gershon, Lin & Li Xianbin, 2002). 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 increasing 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, but the female officers report higher rates of sex discrimination and prejudice which contributes to psychological distress.
Another work stressor to be taken into consideration is that there are more chances of the female police officers and detectives to be involved with sexual offenders or victims of violence. This causes higher levels of self-perceived stress in females than faced by male police officers (Brown & Fielding, 1993). The results also showed that uniformed women constables were less likely to be exposed to police operational stressors which involved the chances for violence, but in case of such exposure, the reactions reported by female officers were brutal than those from uniformed policemen. In addition to that the organizational issues such as the demands of work intruding upon the life at home, lack of communication and consultation, lack of control over the workload, insufficient support and excess of workload in general; are major work stressors. It is also observed that both personal and occupational stressors in female police officers from personality constraints appeared to be more stress-prone. All these stressors are symptoms of