Prison Officer Stress

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Sinead Regan: Occupational Stress and Coping among Prison Officers Occupational Stress and Coping among Irish Prison Officers: An Exploratory Examination Sinead Regan MSc 2009 Greenhouse Press 1 Sinead Regan: Occupational Stress and Coping among Prison Officers ABSTRACT Occupational Stress and Coping among Prison Officers: An Exploratory Examination Prison officers as a professional group are exposed to unique and powerful stressors. Few other employees are given the responsibility of taken charge of an unwilling and potentially violent population. This present study grew out of a perceived paucity of systematic research examining the relationships between stressors and stress related problems among prison officers in Ireland. The research was conducted to extend knowledge about prison officer perceptions of stress, consequences in terms of physical and emotional status, perceived causes of stress, and coping techniques. From self-reported data of sixty-eight prison officers drawn from a medium security committal prison for male offenders, findings of the present study indicate that according to several objective indicators, prison officers experience considerable stress on the job. Furthermore, the study revealed even though there are some concerns, such as safety, that might be more salient for prison officers than other professions, it is the broader organisation rather than the unique attributes of the job that exerted the greater influence on the level and sources of stress among prison officers in the present study. Significant predictors of stress reported by respondents included issues with management, safety concerns, work overload, compulsory overtime, work-family conflict and lack of proper facilities. Furthermore, based on the results it was suggested that reactions by prison officers to different stressors were found not only

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