|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 80-83
Occupation-related psychological distress among police constables of Udupi taluk, Karnataka: A cross-sectional study
Shradha Sadanand Parsekar, Mannat Mohanjeet Singh, TV Bhumika
Department of Public Health, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India
|Date of Web Publication||14-Sep-2015|
Shradha Sadanand Parsekar
Department of Public Health, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka
Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None declared.
Background: Police occupational stress is an extensive issue due to number of negative consequences on an individual as well as the police department which is often neglected. This study is the first of its kind in Udupi district. Aim: The present study intended to find out the prevalence of psychological distress among police constable, assess stressors, and the factors influencing it. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted among police constables in police stations of Udupi taluk. Subjects and Methods: A total of 76 constables participated in the study, who were taken up from seven randomly selected police stations. General health questionnaire and organizational and operational police stress questionnaire were used to assess psychological distress and stressors, respectively. Statistical Analysis Used: Data were analyzed using SPSS version 15. Results were tabulated using frequency distribution and proportions for dichotomous variables and mean with a standard deviation for continuous variables. Chi-square test was performed to find the association between psychological distress and other variables. Results: One-fourth (95% confidence interval: 0.153, 0.347) of the participants reported as having high levels of psychological distress. Years of service and 28 stressful activities were significantly associated with psychological distress. Conclusion: Psychological distress among the police constables is of concern; hence some modifications such as sharing work, fixed duty hours, etc., should be done in the police department in order to avoid stress and its adverse effects. Stress management training can be given at regular intervals to improve competitiveness and enhance coping skills.
Keywords: Police constables, psychological distress, stressful activities
|How to cite this article:|
Parsekar SS, Singh MM, Bhumika T V. Occupation-related psychological distress among police constables of Udupi taluk, Karnataka: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2015;19:80-3
|How to cite this URL:|
Parsekar SS, Singh MM, Bhumika T V. Occupation-related psychological distress among police constables of Udupi taluk, Karnataka: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Jan 21];19:80-3. Available from: http://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2015/19/2/80/165329
| Introduction|| |
Stress plays an important role in everyone's lives; the occupational related stress is one of the major concerns as every other occupation has its own definite stress. Stress is the major contributor for the physical and mental disorders. Stress, among police is of concern as there are negative pressures linked to police work. According to Gail Goolkasian and others, "stressors in police work fall into four categories:
- Stresses inherent in police work
- Stresses arising internally from the police department practices and policies
- External stresses stemming from the criminal justice system and the society at large
- Internal stresses confronting individual officers."
Policing is a highly demanding work environment with the threat, uncertainty at work, encounters, political pressure, exposure to violence, and death. "Research suggests that the suicide rates among police are at a higher rate than other groups and also demonstrates high rates of divorce and reduced quality of family life among police. The findings from the studies showed that," 23% of male and 25% of female officers reported more suicidal thoughts than the general population (13.5%).
"An evidence is essential for the interventions as it's an important and necessary component to help police deal with the stressors and their health" as hardly any research conducted on the occupational problems of police as far as our knowledge. We look forward to address the issues that arise from this research, to come up with some effective interventions and provide recommendations to reduce occupational related distress among police. Police occupational stress is an extensive issue due to number of negative consequences on an individual as well as the police department, which is often neglected. This study is the first of its kind in Udupi District.
The objectives of the study were to: (i) to find out psychological distress among police constables of Udupi taluk, (ii) to assess the most stressful occupation-related activities and (iii) to examine the factors influencing psychological distress.
| Subjects and Methods|| |
A cross-sectional study was conducted from June to August 2014 among police constables. Seven police stations were randomly selected from a total of 11 stations in Udupi taluk. A list of all police stations in Udupi taluk and permission to conduct the study was obtained from the superintendent of police, Udupi district. From each selected police station constables, who were available and willing to participate at the time of data collection were included. The study sample comprised of 76 police constables.
A predesigned, pretested, self-administered, structured questionnaire was used for data collection, which was administered in both English and Kannada languages. Questions were asked on the background characteristics on habits (smoking, smokeless tobacco, and alcohol), history of any diseases, and sleeping problems. Psychological distress was measured using the general health questionnaire (GHQ-12), which is a self-administered screening tool designed to detect psychological distress. It consists of 12 items which describe mood states, six of them are positively framed and the remaining was negatively framed. Each item of the scale has four possible options, which are 0 - better than usual, 1 - same as usual, 2 - less than usual, 3 - much less than usual. Based on the scores, the psychological distress was classified as no distress (scores <15), moderate distress (scores 15–20), and high distress (scores <20).
The stressors were measured using organizational and operational police stress questionnaire (PSQ-Org and PSQ-Op), which is a Likert scale and ranges from "no stress at all" to "a lot of stress." Mean with a standard deviation (SD) of each of the stressor was calculated.
Willingness to participate in the study was obtained in the form of written consent from the participants. Confidentiality was guaranteed and involvement was voluntary. Data were entered using Statistical package for the Social sciences (SPSS) version 15.0, Chicago Illinois. Results were tabulated using frequency distribution and proportions for dichotomous variables and mean with SDs for continuous variables. Association between psychological distress and other variables was studied using Chi-square test, with P< 0.05 considered as being significant.
| Results|| |
The study samples comprised of 76 police constables. [Table 1] depicts the socio-demographic details of the participants. Majority of the participants (84.2%) were<45 years of age. About 82% were males and more than ½ (56.6%) were graduates. With respect to religion, maximum (93.4%) number of the participants followed the Hindu religion.
|Table 1: Distribution of participants according to socio-demographic details|
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As depicted in [Table 2], 10 participants had a history of indulging in at least one of the habits (i.e., smoking, smokeless tobacco, and alcohol). One-tenth (10.5%) of the participants reported of having one of the chronic diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, migraine, gastric problem, and psychological illness). Nearly, 13% of the participants had disturbed sleep pattern. One-fourth (95% confidence interval 0.153, 0.347) of the participants had high psychological distress as per the GHQ.
|Table 2: Distribution of participants according to habits, chronic diseases, sleeping problems, and psychological distress|
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The various stressful activities with their mean and SDs are depicted in [Table 3] as per their rank order.
|Table 3: Mean ranking of stressful activities experienced by the participants|
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Overall, out of 40 sources of stressful activities, 28 came out to be significantly associated with psychological distress. The top six are depicted in the [Table 4], other stressful activities, which came out to be significant were: Risk of being injured on the job (P = 0.007), paper work (P< 0.001), eating healthy at work (P = 0.033), lack of understanding from family and friends about the work (P = 0.013), making friends outside the job (P = 0.006), upholding a higher image in public (P = 0.008), limitation to social life (P = 0.015), feeling like being always at job (P = 0.033), loved ones feel the effects of stigma associated with job (P = 0.023), feeling that different rules apply to different people (P = 0.011), excessive administrative duties (P = 0.044), constant changes in policy and legislation (P = 0.033), bureaucratic red tape (P = 0.002), too much computer work (P = 0.013), lack of training on new equipment (P = 0.006), perceived pressure to volunteer free time (P = 0.008), dealing with supervisors (P< 0.001), inconsistent leadership style (P = 0.011), lack of resources (P = 0.009), internal investigations (P = 0.009), need to be accountable for doing work (P = 0.024), and inadequate equipment (P = 0.003).
|Table 4: Distribution of participants according to psychological distress with respect to years of service and selected stressful activities|
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| Discussion|| |
The present study intended to find out the prevalence of psychological distress among police constables, assess the stressors, and the factors influencing it.
In the present study, about one tenth of the participants reported of having at least one of the chronic diseases and 13% were indulging in one of the habits. In a study done by Selokar et al., 18%, 6%, and 2% reported of having hypertension, diabetes, and tuberculosis, respectively, and three-fourth were addicted to tobacco use.
In the present study, 21% of the participants reported of having moderate psychological distress, 25% as having high levels of stress, while a study conducted by Selokar et al., Kaur et al. and Rao et al. reported moderate and high levels of stress to be 67%, 35%, and 73%, respectively. In another study done by Sundaram et al., among female constables in Tamil Nadu, 33% and 42% of the participants reported as having high and very high-stress levels, respectively.
The top five stressful activity in the present study was "staff shortages," "not enough time available for family and friends," "occupation-related health issues," "over time demands," and "fatigue" with a mean of 5.63 (1.92 SD), 5.48 (2.05 SD), 5.41 (1.75 SD), 5.25 (1.98 SD), and 5.22 (1.87 SD). Study conducted by Sundaram et al. reported the mean of "staff shortages" to be 4.57 (2.62 SD) and "overtime demands" having mean of 5.19 (2.15 SD). In another study done by Suresh et al., "overtime demands" and "lack of time to spend with family" were the topmost stressful activities.
In the present study, years of service (P = 0.004) was significantly associated with psychological distress, on the contrary study done by Naik, reported no association. In the present study, all the other socio-demographic variables, habits, and diseases were not associated, study by Kaur et al. provides evidence to the finding. In other studies conducted in India and elsewhere, the factors which were significantly associated with psychological distress were age, marital status, education,, number of dependents, habits.
The stressful activities which were significantly associated with psychological distress were no time for family and friends (P = 0.001), over time demands (P = 0.01), inadequate equipment (P = 0.003), and staff shortage (P = 0.004) in the present study, these results were consistent with the findings of Suresh et al. Over time demands was also found to be significant in the study by Selokar et al. and Collins and Gibbs.
| Conclusion|| |
This study intended to find out the prevalence of psychological distress among police constables, assess the stressors, and the factors influencing it. More than two-fifth of the participants were facing some levels of stress. The present study indicates that most of the sources of stress were related to the workplace specifically staff shortages, lack of time for family and friends, occupation-related health issues, over time requirements, and fatigue play an important role in influencing psychological distress. Hence, modifications such as sharing work, fixed duty hours, etc., should be done in the police department in order to avoid stress and its adverse effects. Stress management training can be given at regular intervals to improve competitiveness and enhance coping skills. Since this study is the first of its kind to be conducted in Udupi taluk, more intensive and in-depth research can be carried out.
| Acknowledgments|| |
We would like to extend our deepest sense of gratitude to the Superintendent of Police, Dr. Boralingaiah, and Police constable, Mr. Shivanand B, Udupi district for their co-operation and support throughout the study period. We are thankful to all the participants for sparing their valuable time and taking part in the study.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]