• Journal Article

Mapping Police Stress

Citation

Hickman, M. J., Fricas, J., Strom, K., & Pope, M. (2011). Mapping Police Stress. Police Quarterly, 14(3), 227-250. DOI: 10.1177/1098611111413991

Abstract

Research on police stress has developed out of several theoretical frameworks, but the knowledge base is limited by a common reliance on self-report stress measures. This article describes an innovative approach to studying police stress that attempts to overcome some of these limitations by using direct, real-time, and spatially anchored measurement of an officer's stress response (via heart rate) during shift work. A pilot study was conducted using a single officer to determine whether this methodology is feasible for future studies. The pilot study demonstrated that continuous heart rate measurement over the course of the test officer's shift was possible and that these data could be placed in space-time context for purposes of exploring potential stress 'hot spots.' Overall, the results indicate that the methodology is both feasible and suitable for systematic studies of police stress, with the potential to advance our understanding of when, where, and why officers experience stress. Potential benefits, limitations, challenges of implementation, and future directions are discussed