Occupational stress among female police officers

Claudia de Magalhães Bezerra Maria Cecília de Souza Minayo Patrícia Constantino

The scope of this study is occupational stress among female police officers in Rio de Janeiro. A qualitative approach was initially used (interviews, focal groups and observations) to establish their perceptions regarding gender differences in the performance of police work, the relationship between occupational stress and health issues and the strategies used to mitigate this type of stress. A total of 42 participants including female officers and staff and operational and health professionals were involved. The participants link stress to their daily work, cite a number of symptoms and show how family relationships are affected. Stress originates primarily from work management and organizational issues. Gender discrimination and harassment are also perceived as stressors. Psychic suffering is greater among officers in commanding roles, and operational activities are perceived as more stressful due to the risks involved. Physical exercise is seen as the most effective strategy to mitigate the consequences of stress. The conclusions drawn are that, there is a need for organizational and managerial change from the perspective of gender and investment in preventive measures that can reduce the consequences of stress within the Rio de Janeiro police force.

Military police; Female police officers; Occupational stress; Gender and work

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