Sex & rank differences in Indian police: an empirical analysis.

AuthorBano, Bushara


Fairly large literature on police stress had been produced since the mid-1970s. These studies focus on issues like intensity, prevalence, sources, and consequences of stress (Aaron, 2000; He et al., 2005; Lee, 2002). Some studies had concentrated on the stress of dealing with dangerous and violent situations or on factors external to the police department (Morash et al., 2008). But, it is also increasingly clear that work place problems including negative relationships with co-workers and superiors, opportunities to determine one's job activities and for promotion have also been related to stress in some settings (Brown et al., 1996; Crank et al., 1995; Hurrell, 1995; Kirkcaldy et al., 1995). Coman & Evans (1991) observed that because of the pervasiveness of these factors in police organizations, organizational sources of stress are particularly important to them. Brooks and Piquero (1998) also noted that problems in the police organization are more predictive of stress than are other types of possible stressors. Finally, Zhao et al. (2000) noted that police officers' perceptions of their work environment had a significant impact on multiple measures of stress.

Police work generates its own unique stresses. Symonds (1970) proposed two general areas of job strain in police-vocation i.e. pressure resulting from the unique responsibilities of law enforcement and tension arising from the organizational aspects of policing. Stressors which had been considered inherent to police work include physically or psychologically threatening events, such as in-progress felony calls, physical attacks, high speed chases, and the death or injury of another police officer (Violanti & Aron, 1993). Organizational stressors in police work had been related to policies, procedures, shift work, poor or no equipment and inadequate support mechanisms from superiors (Kroes et al., 1974; Violanti & Aron, 1994). Spielberger et al. (1981) suggested negative encounters with the public, courts and media as organizational pressures and psychological threats (Ursitti, 2011).

In comparison to other occupations, police work has been identified as one of society's most stressful occupations (Alexander, 1999; Anshel, 2000). The exposure to these stressful conditions could lead to ill health of police officers. It is important to have a productive and healthy police service that serves as an important contributor to the stability and economic growth of a country. Thus, it is necessary to investigate possible factors that contribute to work-related well being of the police officers (Mostert & Rothmann, 2006).

Research reported that racism and sexism remained deeply embedded in police culture (Martin, 2004; Walker, 1985). For both minority and female officers, the road leading to their full acceptance in police force seemed long and uncertain (Martin, 1991; Steel & Lovrich, 1987; Warner, Steel & Lo rich, 1989; Zhao & Lovrich, 1998). The police profession, not unlike other traditional male sex-typed occupations (Haarr & Morash, 1999), presented a rather challenging or even outright hostile work environment for women and minority officers. In spite of the plethora of literature on the relationship between various demographic factors and job-related stress, there was a paucity of empirical evidence pertaining to the interactive effects of rank and gender on the police stress in India. This paper aims to assess this relationship towards a sustainable and secure society.

Literature Review

Vander & de Heus (1993) examined the difference between male and female Dutch managers in respect of work stress, social support and strains. They reported that although both work and life support were negatively correlated with work stress, only weak support was strongly correlated to each measure of strain.

Spielberger & Reheiser (1994) measured perceived psychological severity and anxiety of 30 job stressor events, using men and women as subjects working in the university and corporate settings. The study revealed that overall stress level was similar for men and women. However, significant differences were reported in perceived severity and frequency of occurrence of individual stressor events as per gender.

Deb et al. (2006) carried out a study on 60 Traffic police officers and 68 constables from Kolkata police to identify stress among them. The analysis revealed that traffic constables were experiencing more stress than traffic police officers. Police officers were reported stress due to role overload, responsibility for persons, unprofitability and strenuous working conditions while constables were stressed due to under participation, powerlessness, responsibility for person and role overload. Kumar (2006) investigated the stress profiles of police personnel posted in the police stations in Hyderabad. The major stressors affecting the life of police personnel were insufficient time for family, work overload, accommodation problem, lack of confidence of superiors, no time for intellectual development, recreation, to keep everyone satisfied, risky situations, problem of job coordination, lack of clarity in expectation and coping with superiors. Bhattacharya & Basu (2007) examined the relationship of gender and age on the Distress, Wellness and Organizational Role Stress among professionals. Results of the study reported that women were experiencing greater wellness and older personnel were experiencing more distress. Cardoso & Fernandes (2011) carried out a study on 147 doctors of Goa Medical College to assess the impact of marital status, management level and social support on organizational role stress. The results indicated that stress had no relationship with marital status. However role stress had a negative correlation with level of management as well as social support. Chaturvedi (2011) investigated the difference in role stress among teachers (both male and female) working in private and government institutes. The total sample of the study was 180. It was reported that women employees were more stressed than their male counterparts. Age was observed to have a significant impact on stress level. Bano (2011) undertook a study on 65 police personnel of Aligarh to identify major stressors among them. Findings reported that political pressure, lack of time for family, negative public image and low salary were the primary causes of stress among police personnel. It also emerged that stress was significantly more pronounced among those police personnel who were younger, more educated, posted in rural areas and had less work experience.

The review of related studies on police stress revealed that women and lower rank police personnel are experiencing higher political pressure, lack of time for family, negative public image, inadequate salary, work overload, death/ injury of fellow officer on duty, negative relationship at workplace, lack of promotions, time/job pressure etc than male and

higher rank police officers.

Objectives of the Study

* Investigate the nature and dynamics of the role stress among police personnel

* Explore the difference, if any, in the quantum and type of stress among Police Personnel across sex and rank

* Assess the association between sex and role stress among police personnel

* Assess the association between rank and role stress among police personnel


* Ho1: There is no difference in the nature and intensity of stress (measured through ORS and its ten constituent stressors) among police personnel.

* Ho2: There is no difference in quantum and type of stress among police personnel as per their sex.

* Ho3: There is no association of sex and role stress among police personnel.

* Ho4: There is no difference in quantum and type of stress among police personnel as per their rank.

* Ho5: There is no association of rank and role stress among police personnel.

Research Methodology

The descriptive research design is used in this study. Sample size of the present study is 500 police personnel. The sample for the study was selected from the civil and armed police of seven districts of Uttar Pradesh, namely, Aligarh, Agra, Kannauj, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Auraiya and Jhansi. Quota and convenience sampling were employed for collecting the data from police personnel. The stress among personnel was measured through Organizational Role Stress Scale (ORS). It has ten constituent stressors-namely Inter Role Distance (IRD), Role Stagnation (RS), Role Expectation Conflict (REC), Role Erosion (RE), Role Overload (RO), Role Isolation (RI), Personal Inadequacy (PI), Self Role Distance (SRD), Role Ambiguity (RA) and Resource Inadequacy (RIn). The questionnaire was translated into Hindi, the official language of Uttar Pradesh police. In order to make suitable for the present study, the scale was refined through item analysis (reliability analysis) and factor analysis (exploratory and confirmatory).


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