Perception of stress, its sources, physical symptoms and specificity of police officers' work  

Baboselac Marić M., Tot B.
First author's affiliation: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Zagreb, Croatia

With regards to job characteristics of police officers, it has been recognized that police work is a highly stressful job even within a group of other risk occupations. Organizational and operational aspects of a job place high expectations on a police officer. In addition to extraordinary events there are daily sources of stress affecting the psychophysical stability of police officers. In this research attempts are made to discover to what extent some of work features influence the perception of stress level, number of physical symptoms and perception of sources of stress in police officers' work. Furthermore, efforts are made in this research to ascertain differences within explored variables in regard to the level of responsibility, level of education and effective service as the police officer. Police officers (N = 590) who underwent periodical systematic medical examinations during 2007 and 2008 participated in this research. Research results reveal that job requirements and lack of social support at working environment contribute significantly to perceived level of stress. Those police officers who reveal higher number of physical symptoms have also higher stress level as well as higher number of perceived sources of stress. It has been determined that with higher level of responsibilities and education, requirements and possibility of control at work place also increases. Obtained results can be used to enhance working conditions of police officers.