Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 109--112

An epidemiologic study of occupational stress factors in Mumbai police personnel

Balaji D Almale1, Ashok J Vankudre1, Seema S Bansode-Gokhe2, Vrushali K Pawar3,  
1 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Vasatrao Pawar Medical College and Hospital, Research Centre, Nashik, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Seth G. S. Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Gynecologist and Obstetrician, Siddhivinayak Hospital, Nashik, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Balaji D Almale
Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Vasatrao Pawar Medical College and Hospital, Research Centre, Nashik, Maharashtra


Introduction: Occupational stress is common to each and every organization at various levels of hierarchy. The police organization is no exception to this. Rather policing is widely recognized as more stressful than any other occupation, nature of work, irregular duty hours, and many more factors, which can trigger stress. The present study was done to highlight some of these stressful factors in Mumbai police. Materials and Methods: Simple as well as systematic random sampling technique was adopted to get equal representation from each zone as well as region from Mumbai police. Occupational stress index (OSI) questionnaire was prepared, pilot tested, and validated for screening stress. Result: We screened 276 policemen for occupational stress. Seventy-three percent of them were in the 30-50 years age group, and most of them (49%) studied up to H.S.C. Ninety-one percent were married and 56% had reported duty hours 12-16 h/day. Seventy-one percent were addicted to any of the substance. After screening we found 73% moderately stressed, whereas 18% highly stressed policemen. Sociodemographic factors which were age group (50-58 years), duration of service in years (>25 years), duration of duty hours (>16 h/day), addiction habits, and number of monthly holidays (no holiday). We found role ambiguity, under participation, role overload, strenuous working condition, and unprofitability as predominant scales in OSI. So prevention as well as management of stress in policemen is the necessity of the current situation. This stress can be managed at organizational level by adopting right techniques, whereas at individual level by habituating right behavior and attitude.

How to cite this article:
Almale BD, Vankudre AJ, Bansode-Gokhe SS, Pawar VK. An epidemiologic study of occupational stress factors in Mumbai police personnel.Indian J Occup Environ Med 2014;18:109-112

How to cite this URL:
Almale BD, Vankudre AJ, Bansode-Gokhe SS, Pawar VK. An epidemiologic study of occupational stress factors in Mumbai police personnel. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jul 12 ];18:109-112
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"Indian Police" is an umbrella term, which denotes not only state police force of India but also various central police organizations, such as Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Rapid Police Force (RPF), and various other law enforcing agencies. Indian police completed more than 50 years of police of democratic, secular, and pluralistic society. [1]

Occupational stress is a dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with opportunities, constraint, and or demand related to what she/he desires from which the outcome is perceived to be uncertain and important in relation to its employment. [2] Stress at work is the consequence of a combined exposure to the magnitude of factors in the work environment such as psychological, physiological, and social. [2]

There is some degree of occupational stress, which is common to every organization at various levels of hierarchy. The police organization is no exception to the rule. Rather Policing is widely recognized as more stressful than any other occupation. Considering the difficult nature of police work and the stress it places on individuals. There is strong need to understanding the stress faced by policemen and their way of coping with these.

They face strong job demands besides being constantly under political and media scrutiny, many of those demands cannot be met adequately. There are many professional and legal strictures that circumscribe the policing response, which can lead to frustration and this overload with job demands causes strain and stress in individual police officers.

In a survey of stress in police personnel, Mathur et al. [3] noted that job stress among Indian police remains a neglected area of research in India. Therefore, there is great need to explore this area for the wellbeing of police personnel. Psychological, physical, and work-related stressors have been shown to have negative effect not only on mental and physical wellbeing of an individual but also show negative effect on one's occupational duties. In India only limited attention has been paid to the investigation of stress for public.

Mumbai police personnel are under constant stress due to one or the other reason. Mumbai police also started some remedial measures of yoga art of living and stress-busting workshop. All these are nothing but band aids employed to cover the huge bleeding wound that is the moral today's policemen. So to look the sources of job stress in Mumbai police personnel is the aim of the study.

Aims and objective: To study the level of occupational stress in Mumbai policemen and its association with some sociodemographic factors.


Mumbai for administrative purpose has been divided into three parts, namely, city, eastern suburb, and western suburb, which has been further divided into 12 zones. Each zone further divided into three to four divisions and each division has two to three police stations in it.

To adequately represent samples from each part we applied multiage sampling. In each part we randomly selected one division and at divisional level we randomly selected one police station. After finalizing police station we included 20% of them in our study as per systematic random sampling so total 276 policemen (Class II and III) were included out of 1406. Prior permission from commissioner of Mumbai as well as informed consent from study participants was taken.

The scale devised by Cooper et al. [4] measures all the factors present in the work environment responsible for stress and use workers as the source of information by using questionnaire and interview technique and hence has been selected for the study.

The questionnaire used is based on World Health Organization guidelines; Occupational stress index (OSI) Questionnaire [5] used in the present study consists of 46 items with five alternative responses. The items relate the relative components of job, which results in stress such as role over load, role ambiguity, role conflict, unreasonable group, political pressure, powerless, poor peer relationship, intrinsic improvement, low status, strenuous working condition, and unprofitability.

A pilot study was done to strengthen the questionnaire on 45 policemen. After this we administered this questionnaire [6] to all the study participants (policemen Class II and III) at a time convenient to them in police station.

The questionnaire comprises of Part I: Socio- demographic information and Part II: Occupational stress index scale (46 items) and each item was given a score as per the type of answer [Table 1].{Table 1}



The present epidemiologic study focuses on sociodemographic profile of Mumbai police with special references to their job-related stress.

Maximum policemen, that is, 136 (49%) were in the age group 40-50 years in our study. This was more compared with studies done by Channbasvanna et al. [7] and Rajput et al. [8] who reported 28% and 39% in same category, respectively [Table 2].{Table 2}

Ninety-one percent of policemen were married in our study this was similar to studies reported by Kores et al. (81%). In the present study, 36.2% respondents were educated up to secondary. A 48.6% were educated up to higher secondary and 15.2% graduation and above. Channbasvanna et al. [7] reported that 52.4% studied up to secondary, 22% higher secondary, and 20% were graduates.

Almost 76% of the respondents have nuclear family, whereas in a study done by Channbasvanna et al., [7] 60% belonged to nuclear family. Fifty-three percent of policemen were from lower middle class family as per Kuppuswamy classification and other studies also suggested similar findings.

A majority, that is, 130 (47%) policemen were in service for 25-25 years; and similar findings were noted by Channbasvanna et al., [7] who found 20% belonging to the same service experience. Most of the respondents (44%) worked for more than 12 h a day, whereas Class II. Forty-one percent of Class III respondents worked for more than 16 h. Channbasvanna et al., [7] and Davies [9] found higher percentage (80% and 63%) of respondents working more than 16 h a day. Almost 71% of respondents were addicted to either smoking or alcohol .

It was observed that a majority 202 (73%) of police personnel had moderate level stress, whereas 50 (18%) of police personnel had high level of stress. High OSI was found among 25 (44%) in the age group 50-58 years. This association of OSI and age found to be statistically significant. This can be because as age advances, the responsibilities for work also increase. There was significant association of OSI and duration of service years, Ramanchandran et al. [10] (1997) also noted a similar finding [Table 3].{Table 3}

Out of total 195 respondents who were addicted to one or other form of substance, 23% had high OSI. This association of OSI and addiction habit was found to be statistically significant. A similar study done by Pestonji (1992) and Agarwal [11] who found addiction in terms of coping behavior of smoking as a symptom of stress found to be high among constables (47%) followed by head constables (39%).

The association of OSI and number of monthly holidays was found to be statistically significant. Sindhu (2000) [12] in his experimental study found higher satisfaction in the group who received weekly off. In high OSI role ambiguity (73%), under participation (49%), role overload (42%), strenuous working condition (34%), and unprofitability (28%) were predominant scales. A similar study conducted by Kores et al. [13] in the United States identified administration, job overload, court related matters, role conflict, role ambiguity, unusual work hours, and line of duty crisis situation as the stress causing factors in police personnel.


It was an observational study done on Mumbai police personnel with the aim of exploring few triggers associated with occupational stress in them. Total 276 police personnel (Class II and Class III) were screened for the OSI and we found that 73% were moderately stressed, whereas 18% were highly stressed. We studied the sociodemographic factors that are highly associated with it: Age group (50-58 years), duration of service in years (>25 years), duration of duty hours (>16 h/day), addiction habits, and number of monthly holidays (no holidays).

So to reduce their stress we recommend the following:

At organizational level: Stress factors should be identified. The department should develop a co-operative culture instead of confrontational one. Duty hours as well as number of holidays are fixed. Regular screening by medical team should be carried outAt individual level: Person should develop hobbies as well as organization skills to reduce stress. Regular exercise as well as relaxing techniques such as yoga significantly reduce stress. Most important is right attitude toward job should be developed.


Mr.Rajanish Seth : Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police for granting permission for above studyDr.R.R.Shinde: Professor & Head, Department of Community Medicine, Seth G.S.Medical College & KEM hospital MumbaiDr.S.R.Suryawanshi: Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Topiwal National Medical college, Mumbai Central


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