Management of Stress and Coping Behaviour of Police - medIND

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1 47 Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, January 2009, Vol. 35, No.1, 47-53. Management of Stress and Coping Behaviour of Police Personnel through Indian Psychological Techniques Randhir Singh Ranta Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla The police fulfils an essential role in the society and stress potentially reduces the effectiveness of the personnel. The stressed police officers pose a threat to themselves, their colleagues, offenders and/or to public safety and thus it is a matter of urgent concern for psychologists in particular and mental health researchers in general. There are endeavors to reduce, eliminate or modify stress among police personnel using psychological techniques based on the western model. The present study is unique as it uses stress management and stress coping techniques based on Indian psychological models. The multidimensional psychological interventions used in this study were chosen on the basis of indigenous psychological viewpoints embedded in Yoga and meditational techniques. The volunteers chosen from different ranks of police personnel (e.g. constables, head constables, assistant sub-inspectors and inspectors) to reduce their stress using a control group technique. In order to assess the efficacy of these multidimensional psychological interventions, scores on stress and coping were taken prior to and after the intervention (pretest and posttest design). Repeated measures analysis of variance was applied to compare the experimental and control groups. It was found that the multidimensional psychological interventions were significant in reducing job stress, and they enhanced the coping behavior of subjects. The study highlights the role of stress management techniques developed from Indian psychology theory. Keywords: Management of Stress, Coping Behaviour, Police Personnel, and Indian Psychological Techniques Everyone in todays life experiences a fair mismanagement is a harbinger to the job share of stress, irrespective of personal (Times of India, 1993). Social change, characteristics, environment and social economic conditions, the total criminal justice conditions. The concept of stress was first system and the demands made on introduced in the life sciences by Hans Seyle policemens time with their families, all (1956). The term stress is applied to the contributes towards the stress (Grencik, total transaction between the stressor and 1975). coping resources in the interaction together, The policies and procedures of the over time, so that one may speak of system police organization (Swanson & Territo, 1983) being under stress (Lazarus, Averiel & and autocratic management (Cooper, Option,1970) or a particular situation being Davidson, & Robinson, 1982) have been stressful (Selye, 1978). He defined stress as known to cause discontent and dissatisfaction the non-specific response of the body to any among police personnel along with frequent demand. The presence of stress among transfer, suspension / suppression, delayed policemen is felt but not recognized as the promotions, non-grant of leave on time and major enemy (Mathur, 1994). Media reports departmental inquires (Mathur, 1995). of police brutality, in-discipline and the

2 48 Stress and Coping Behaviour Job stress is one of the most common effective intervention programmes (see also afflictions among police personnel. Perhaps Wade, Cooley & Sivicki, 1986). Investigators one of the most stress prone occupations is have suggested management of stress rather that of police profession. Because police not its eradication (Cooper & Marshall, 1976). only acts as a law enforcing agency but also Kobasa (1979) noted that persons frame of as an instrument of social service, an agent reference, motives, competencies or stress of social change and the protector of the tolerance, play the dominant role in rights and duties of the people. Police determining persons coping strategies. When personnel are often involved in dealing with a person feels competent enough to handle criminals, VIPs security duties, outdated laws a situation, a task oriented response is and collapse of other agencies of criminal typical, i.e. the behaviour is directed primarily justice system. So great can be the stakes at dealing with requirement of the stressor. as the entire life of police officers is full of Typically this response means that individual tension and stresses. objectively appraises the situation, works out a solution, decides on an appropriate Many studies have shown that the job of strategy, takes an action and evaluates the policing is an extremely stressful one (Colwell, feedback (Gazdella, Bernandette & Ginther, 1988; Heiman, 1975; Kroes, Margolis & 1991; Holt, Fine & Tollefson, 1987; Jenkins, Hurrell, 1974; Niederhoffer & Niederhoffer, Susans & Calhoun, 1991; Parkes, 1990; 1978; Selye, 1978; Somodevilla, 1978 & Payne & Rajala, 1988). Violanti, 1992). These stress experiences impair their health and result in high rates of Active and cognitive coping have been mental illness. Stress related illnesses are of found to be positively associated with particular concern and are reflected in negative life events. Individuals who had more tragically high suicide rates, divorce, personal and environmental resources were alcoholism, decreased job satisfaction and more likely to rely on active coping and less burnout (Curran, Finlay & McGarry, 1988; likely to use avoidance coping (Holahan & Labovitz & Hagedorn, 1971; Lester, 1983; Moos, 1987), and also they pointed out that Richard & Fells, 1975). individual who are adapted to stress with little physical or psychological strain were less Police personnel of different ranks differ inclined to rely on avoidance coping then both quantitatively and qualitatively in their were people who showed psychological experience of stress. The subordinate dysfunction under stress (Holahan & Moos, officers had the highest scores on stressors 1987). such as job boredom, quantitative work overload and lack of praise and relatively Pestonjee (1992), pointed out that stress high scores on noxious physical environment, leads to psychosomatic disorders. Since communication quality, decision latitude and emotional states are often expressed in terms role ambiguity (Mathur, 1999). of bodily reactions, one method of counteracting the harmful effects of stress is Coping Skill the effect of possibility of regular exercises. Coping is viewed as stabilizing factor that According to Bhole (1977), breathing may help individuals maintain psychological practices are intended to develop certain type adaptation during stress period (Lazarus & of awareness within oneself. According to Folkman, 1984; Moose & Billings, 1982). Very Nagendra and Nagarathna (1988), Yoga recently, Freedy and Hobfall (1994), pointed holds the key to combat stress. Mathur (1999) out that the persistence of stress and burnout concluded that physical exercise can play an across the time suggests the need for important part both in reducing stress and in

3 Randhir Singh Ranta 49 increasing ones ability to cope with stressful emphasis on the fourth dimension spiritual situation. Swanson and Territo (1983) of well being, as it has been the major goal reported that more physically fit an officer of indigenous techniques such as yoga. The feels, the more self assured and happy he is policemans work environment is highly with himself. proved to various kinds of stressors, physical, Studies also show that enhancement of social, and mental. Moreover, it would be awareness and self esteem can decrease the more appropriate to use the contemporary impact of stress among police personnel concept, allostatic load (Sterling & Eyer, (Swanson & Territo, 1983). In many studies 1988), in their case. These people undergo cognitive proceedings have been used to various kinds of wear and tear of body in their help the individual learn to achieve better highly stressful working conditions. In turn, understanding of the personal, social and the mental health or well-being is defined on institutional variables that either promote or the basis of these three components physical, reduce the occurrence of stress and burnout. social and mental. This dimension involves A cognitive behavioural approach for stress those intervention which positively contribute management of police office was explored by to the well-being of police men. The various Sarason, Johnson, Berberich and Siegal techniques used to alleviate stress take only (1979). They concluded that stress negative aspects, where as the techniques management with law enforcement officers explored in the present study, are effective may be most effective when the program is in coping up with stress, as well as to enhance focused on the specific situations which are the positive aspects of their mental health. likely to be encountered by trainees and on Design developing skills for coping with anxiety and A three factor mixed design 4x2x2 anger. (AxBxC) with repeated measure on the third Stress management programme in factor trials (C) has been used in this study. Dallas police department described by In this design factor A consisted of four Somodevilla, Baker, Hill and Thomas, (1978) different ranks of police personnel taken from reported positive impact of the biofeedback the ranks of Constables (A1) Head Constables training, on the ability to recognize and (A 2 ) Assistant Sub Inspectors (A 3 ) and reduce stress. They also concluded that Inspectors (A4). Factor B type of intervention todays officer required constant inoculation consisted of two levels, multidimensional against stress. In those cases where stress intervention (B 1 ) and only relaxation was already injuring the officer or those close intervention (B2). The group receiving only to him, the means of crushing such stress relaxation intervention was regarded as and helping the individual cope with its control group. Factor C, (trials of destructive effect should be readily available. assessment) consisted of two levels (C1 pre Pandya has carried out a unique stress intervention trials and C2 post intervention management program on Mumbai police to trials) taken immediately after the completion help them in management of stress using a of each intervention. holistic approach (Hindustan Times, 26 Nov. Multidimensional Intervention 1996, see also Mathur, 1999). It is prepared for the present purpose In the present study, my objective was comprised of 3 sessions of one hour each to follow a holistic approach to mental health, with at least one day gap between each which takes into consideration the physical session for homework assignments. Since (environmental), social, mental and spiritual emotional states are often expressed in terms dimensions of the individual. Rather there is

4 50 Stress and Coping Behaviour of bodily reactions the phase-1 consisted of by 10 senior police officers. Finally, a 45-item the stress management session including questionnaire was developed to assess job relaxation training plan, phase-II self related stressor for police personnel. management and mood management Coping Questionnaire: This scale was techniques and phase-III was the rehearsal developed by Carver and Weintraub (1989). of all the phases before a formal termination This questionnaire was used for measuring of this multidimensional programme. The coping behaviour of police personnel. The police personnel were also asked to apply measure consists of 60 items, but 4 items the coping skill they had learned in an were excluded due to their irrelevance for the imaginary situation during meditation stage present study. Participants reported the of relaxation training plan. The relaxation frequency with which they usually rely on training programme which formed the first various strategies to deal with difficult or phase of multidimensional strategy was also stressful events in their lives. Sample items given to control group for one day in the same are, I take direct action to get around the way as done in the 1 st phase of problem and I get upset and let my emotion multidimensional intervention, so that they did out. A final list of 56 items was used for the not feel left out. present purpose. However, since the police Method personnel in India are not well versed in Sample: English, this instrument was also translated into Hindi by the investigator for the purpose Only volunteer police personnel were of the present study. selected for the present purpose. A notice was circulated in the various police stations Procedure: in order to inform them about the upcoming Police personnel were called in a small stress management workshop. Those group for the workshop. Before starting the interested in attending the same were workshop they were asked to report their level requested to give their names to the of job stress and coping behaviour on the researcher on the date mentioned in the Police Stress Questionnaire and Coping notice. Out of these volunteers, 20 from each Behaviour Questionnaire. Then they were of the following lower ranks (e.g. constables, exposed to the Multidimensional Intervention head constables, assistant sub inspectors that included strategies for dealing with stress and inspectors) were selected and 10 police and enhance coping behaviour along with personnel from each of the four ranks were group discussions and brief home assigned randomly to treatment as well as assignments. Before the commencement of control groups. the next phase, intervention of previous phase Tools: was rehearsed. After the completion of all phases the Police Stress Questionnaire and Police Stress Questionnaire: The Coping Behaviour Questionnair were given scale was developed by Ranta (2004) for the again. During each phase, effort was made purpose of the present study. A pilot study to make sure that police personnel were was conducted to identify the type of stressful clear about the procedures to be able to events that police personnel experience on apply the strategies on their own. The the job, a sample of 280 police personnel relaxation training programme was given to from different categories were asked to list control group for one day, and pre-post the most stressful events they had measures on dependent variables were experienced at work. The questionnaire taken, prior to and after the intervention. originally included 90 items, which was rated

5 Randhir Singh Ranta 51 Results police personnel. With regard to within group The t-test performed on the pre- changes the main effect of trials was also treatment scores of the two intervention significant, F(1, 72) = 38.436; p

6 52 Stress and Coping Behaviour Fig 2: Interaction of Trials x Treatment (TRxT) receive little if any training in the self- in Coping Scores. management skills to help them quickly regain 150 psychological and physiological equilibrium 145 145.9 after the intense challenges of their work. This 142.35 Mean Coping Scores 140 139.42 is the positive aspect of mental health, which 135 is entirely neglected in this profession. The 130 132.95 unusually stringent demands for self control, 125 compounded by the unavailability of effective 120 strategies for inner self-management Pre Treatment Post Treatment becomes an added stressor in its own right Multidimensional Intervention RelaxationIntervention for police (Abernathy, 1995; Ganster, Pagon, & Duffy, 1996). It is clear that practical stress Discussion management techniques are needed not only For police personnel, inability to to help police personnel to remain more effectively manage stress is directly reflected balanced during and after the acute stresses in their performance of duty. Police work often of their jobs, but also to take action to better places officers in situations where reaction, manage and seek real solutions to the speed, coordination and the capacity to make chronic stress related to organizational and rapid decisions and accurate judgments family issues. The present study takes a under pressure is critical, and the mental and holistic approach considering these two emotional impairment due to stress can aspects. significantly impair these abilities (Arnsten, The multidimensional intervention of the 1998). In the extreme stress it can cause present study was prepared by keeping all officers to lose balance and composure to these aspects in mind, which dealt with the the degree that they employ inappropriate symptoms of stress and enhancement of or excessive force in dealing with the clients coping behaviour. The efficacy of (Moore & Donohue, 1976). At the multidimensional intervention as a coping psychological level, the stress of police work strategy for the management of job related may result in chronic negative emotions such stress is clearly evident from the results for as anger, anxiety and depression, which can the police personnel of all ranks. eventually lead to psychological burnout or emotional exhaustion (Burke, Shearer, & Negative coping might adversely affect Deszca, 1984;Gaines & Jermier, 1983; Vena, somatic health status by influencing the Violanti, Marshall, & Fiedler, 1986). frequency, intensity, duration and patterning of neurochemical responses. It can also Police officers operating under severe affect health negatively, when it involves and chronic stress may well be at greater risk excessive use of injurious substances such of error and over-reaction that can as alcohol, drugs or tobacco or when it compromise their performance and public involves the person in activities of high risk safety. The unrealistic expectations imposed to life. Further, certain forms of coping (e.g. by professional police culture discourage particularly denial-like processes) can impair officers from admitting the feeling of stress health illness related behaviour (Folkman and from openly expressing negative & Lazarus, 1984). The implications of emotions. Thus, while police personnel negative coping, as forced by the decorum receive ample training in the theoretical of police personnel (Pate & Spielberger, knowledge and technical skills required to 1979) is clearly evident in the earlier part of perform their jobs and take effective action this research related to negative mood in an emergency situation, most of them

7 Randhir Singh Ranta 53 regulation and anger-in. It clearly highlights Axelberd, M., & Valle, J. (1978). Stress Control the need of such intervention which can Program for Police Officers of Miani Police enable the police personnel to come out of Department. In I. Territo and H.J. Vetter their superficial way of coping with emotional (Eds.) Stress and Police Personnel. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Inc. expressions to themselves in order to maintain sound health. Bhole, M.A. (1977). Psycho-physiological importance of some yoga practice paper The stress management programmes presented at the International seminar on have been implemented successfully by stress in health and disease. Banaras Hindu police organizations in the west (Axelberd & University Varanasi, February. Velle, 1978; Swanson & Territo, 1983; Burke, R.J., Shearer, J., & Deszca, G. (1984). Wagner, 1981). In India Pandya (1982) has Burnout among men and women in Police been conducting workshops for the special work: An examination of the Cherniss Model. branch of the Mumbai police for the last eight Journal of Health and Human Resources years (Hindustan Times, 26 November 1996). Administration, 7, 162-188. But these singular efforts need to be Colwell, Lee. (1988). Stress a major Energy of replicated all over India. The findings of the Law Enforcement Professionals (Reprinted present study is an encouraging indication from Feb. 21, 1987), edition of Arkansas Democrat) in FBI Law Enforcement Bulleting to pursue this line of research. Keeping in 57 (2) US Dept. of Justice, FBI Washington view the Indian ethos, the psychologist need D.C. 20535. to explore the scope of indigenous Cooper, C.L., & Marshall, J. (1976) Occupational techniques to (a) alleviate the wear and tear sources of stress. A review of Literature of body and mind, (b) enhance the well-being relating to Coronary Heart disease and Mental of person. Both these aspects are important, III-Health. Journal of Occupational whether we take management view, or the Psychology, 49, 11-28. remedial measures. The multidimensional Cooper, C.L., Davidson, M.J., & Robinson, R. intervention developed by the present (1982). Stress in the Police Service. Journal investigator were though arbitrarily chosen, of Occupational Medicine, 24, 30-36. it significantly reduced the job related stress Curran, P.S., Finlay. R.J., & McGarry, P.J. (1988). among the police force subjects. Not only Trends in suicide, Irish Journal of this, these techniques enhanced the general Psychological Medicine, 5, 98-102. coping behaviour of the police force subjects. Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R.S. (1984). It if Thus these two significant findings need changes it must be a process: A study of further replication studies to verify and emotion and coping during three stages of a standardize them. There is need to choose college examination. Journal of Personality these groups of interventions following some and Social Psychology, 95, 107-113. theoretical basis for two reasons, first, how Freedy, J.R., & Hobfall, S.E. (1994). Anxiety they are associated with each other, and Stress and Coping. An International Journal, second, how they contribute in affecting 6, 4. change in the subjects. Gaines, J., & Jermier, J. (1983). Emotional exhaustion in a high stress organization. References Academy of Management Journal, 26, 567- Abernathy, A. (1995). The development of an 586. anger Management Training Program for Law Ganster, D., Pagon, M., & Duffy, M. (1996). enforcement personnel. In A. Abernathy, Ed. Organizational and interpersonal sources of Job stress interventions. Washington, D.C.: stress in the Slovenien Police Force: In American Psychological Association, 21-30. Ganster D. Pagon, M. and M. Duffy, (Eds.) Arnsten, A. (1998). The Biology of being frazzled Policing in Central and Eastern Europe. Science, 280, 1711-1712. Ljubljana Slovenia: College of Police and

8 54 Stress and Coping Behaviour Security Studies. police officers. Police Research and Gazdella, Bernandette, M., & Ginther. (1991). Development, April-June, BPR and D, MHA, Educators appraisal of their stressors and Govt. of India. coping strategies. Psychological Reports. Mathur, P. (1999). Stress in Police in India: Jone Vol. 68. Recognition, diagnosis and coping Grencik, J.M. (1975). Towards an understanding strategies. New Delhi: Gyan Publishing of stress. In W.H. Kroes and J.J. Hurrell (Eds.) House. Job stress and the Police Officer Identifying Moore, L., & Donohue, J. (1976). The Patrol Stress reduction Techniques. Washington, Officer: Special Problems / Special Cures. D.C. Department of HEW. Police Chief, 45, 42. Heiman, M.F. (1975). The Police suicide. Moose, R.A., & Billings, A.G. (1982). Journal of Police Science and Conceptualising and Measuring Coping Administration, 3, 264-273. Resources and Processes. Theoretical and Hindustan Times, 26 November, 1996. Clinical Aspects. New York: Free Press. Holahan, J.S. & Moos, R. (1987). The personnel Nagendra, H.R., & Nagarathna, R. (1988). New and Contextual determinants of coping perspectives in Stress Management. strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Bangalore: Vivekananda Kendra, Yoga Psychology, 52, 946-955. Research Foundation Holt, P. fine, M.J. & Tollefson, M. (1987). Niederhoffer, A., & Niederhoffer, E. (1978), Police Mediating Stress: Survival of the Hardy. family: From Station House to Ranch House Psychology in Schools, 24, 51-58. Massachussetts. Health/ Lexigton. Jenkins, Susan, Calhoun, & James. (1991). Pandya, R. (1982). Stress Management: A Teacher Stress Issue and Intervention: Holistic approach. Bombay: Creative Psychological in School. Communication and Management Centre. Kobasa, S.C. (1979). Stressful life events, Parkes, K. (1990). Coping, negative affectivity personality, and health: an inquiry into and the work environment: Additive and hardiness. Journal of Personality and Social interactive predictors of mental health. Psychology, 37, 1-11. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75, 399-409. Kroes, W.W., Margolis, B, & Hurrell, J. (1974). Pate, J.M., & Spielberger, C.D. (1979), Sources Job Stress in Policemen. Journal of Police of Stress in Police Work. Journal of Fraternal Science and Administration, 2, 145-155. Order Police, 60-62. Labovitz, S. & Hagedron, R. (1971). An Analysis Payne, R.A., & Rajala. (1988). Individual of Suicide Rates among Occupational differences in the study of occupational Categories. Sociological Inquiry, 41, 67-72. stress. In C. Cooper and R. Payne (Eds.) Causes coping and consequences of stress Lazarus, R. & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress at work. (pp. 209-232). Chichester John Appraisal and Coping, New York: Springer. Willey. Lazarus, R.S., Averill, J.R. & Option, E. (1970). Pestonjee, D.M. (1992). Stress and Coping. The Towards a cognitive theory of emotion in M. India experience. New Delhi: Sage Arnulds (Eds.) Third International Publication. Symposium of feeling and emotion. New York: Academic Press. Ranta, R. S. (2004). Management of Stress Burnout Anger and Coping Behaviour of Lester, D. (1983). Stress in Police Officers. Police Police Personnel in Himachal Pradesh. PhD Journal, 56, 188-190. thesis (unpublished). Mathur, K.M. (1994). Indian Police: Role and Richards, W.C. & Fells, R.D. (1975). Health Challenges, New Delhi: Gyan Publishing Factors in Police Job Stress. In William House. Kroes and Joseph Hurrell (Eds.) Job Stress Mathur, P. (1995). A comparison of psychological and the Police Officer; Identifying Stress characteristics in probationers and veteran Reduction Techniques. Washington, DC:

9 Randhir Singh Ranta 55 US, Dept. of HEW. Swanson, C.R., & Territo, L. (1983). Police Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York: Administration, Structure, processes and McGras-Hill. Behaviour. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company. Sarason, I.G., Johnson, J.H., Berberich, J.P. Siegel, J.M. (1979). Helping Police Officers Times of India.(1993 Jan) to cope with Stress: A Cognitive Behaviour Vena, J.E., Violanti, J.M., Marshall, J., & Fiedler, Approach. American Journal of Community R.C. (1986). Mortality of a municipal worker Psychology, 7, 593-603. cohort: III. Police officers. American Journal Selye, H. (1978). The Stress of Police Work, Ind. Medicine, 10, 383-397. Police Stress, 1, 7-8. Violanti, J.M. (1992). Coping strategies among Somodevilla, S.A. (1978). The psychologists police recruits in a high-stress training Role in the Police Department . The Police environment. Journal of Social Psychology, Chief, 45, 21-23. 132, 717-729. Somodevilla, S.A., Baker, C.F., Hill, W.R., & Wade, D.C., Cooley, E., & Savicki, V. (1986). Thomas, N.H. (1978). Stress Management A Longitudinal study of Burnout Children and in the Dallas Police Department. In L. Territo Youth Hardness. Journal of Personality & H.J. Vetter (Eds.) Stress and Police Social Psychology, 37, 1-11. Personnel. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Inc. Wagner, M. (1981). Action and Reaction: The Sterling, P., & Eyer, J. (1988). Allostasis: A New Establishment of a Counselling Service in Paradigm to Explain Arousal Pathology. In the Chicago Police Department. In L. Territo S. Fisher, and J. Reason, (eds) Handbook and H.J. Vetter (Eds.) Stress and Police of Life Stress, Cognition and Health (pp. 629- Personnel, Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Inc. 649). New York: John Wiley & Son. Received:July 04, 2008 Revision received:August 21, 2008 Accepted:October 08, 2008 Acknowledgement: The authors are thankful to the police personnel of Himachal Pradesh for their extended help during the course of study. R.S. Ranta, PhD, Department of Psychology, H. P. University, Shimla-171 005, Himachal Pradesh, Email: [email protected] the psychespace (Bi-annaul) Editor in Chief: Dr. M. Balachandran Head, Department of Psychology. Tagore Arts College, Puducherry - 605 008 E-Mail: [email protected]

10 56 INDIAN ACADEMY OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY MADRAS PSYCHOLOGY SOCIETY and PONDICHERRY PSYCHOLOGY ASSOCIATION 11th National Conference on School Psychology 10-11 January, 2009 at Hotel Ram International, Puducherry Further details can be obtained from: Prof. B. Mukhopadhyay, Secretary, INDIAN ACADEMY OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY Department of Educational Management and Applied Psychology National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research Taramani, Chennai - 600 113, India Email: [email protected] [email protected] Phone: 044 - 2254 1054, 2254 5467, 2254 5464 Prof. S. Karunanidhi Professor and Head, Department of Psychology Madras University, Chennai - 600 005 Dr. Panch. Ramalingam Organising Secretary, 17, 14th Street, Krishna Nagar, Puducherry 605 008, Email: [email protected], website: Mobile : 94433 52476

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