The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3074.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 9

Abstract #46437

Workstress in Women Police Officers

Robyn R.M. Gershon, MHS DrPH, Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 600 west 168th st, 4th floor, New York, NY 10032, 212 305-1186,, Xianbin Li, PhD, Dept.of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Rm 4510, 615 N.Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21215, and xiaoquin - susan lin, MPH, Columbia University, 617 West 168 street, new york, NY 10032.

The association between perceived workstress and adverse health outcomes is well documented, and a wide range of work stressors have been identified. Research has shown that one of the most important stressors in the workplace is related to workforce diversity. Workers who are in the minority at work, (e.g., because of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) may be at an increased risk of workstress due to minority-related workplace harassment and discrimination. We recently explored this issue in a study on policing, a typically male dominated profession. A subset of data from women officers was examined to determine the relationship between harassment, stress and stress outcomes. Of 1106 anonymous, self-administered questionnaires (70% response rate), 14% (n=153) were from female officers. Results were as follows: mean age was 36yrs, 34% Caucasian, 50% married, 87% with 13+yrs of education. Discrimination/harassment issues: 40% felt that they were held at a higher standard than male officers, 34% felt that they were less likely to be chosen for certain assignments because of their gender, 29% felt more likely to be criticized, and 43% reported that gender- related jokes were often made in their presence. Discrimination/ harassment was significantly associated with high levels of perceived workstress. Women with high levels of workstress were significantly more likely to report alcoholism, somatization, depression, and anxiety. These data indicate a strong relationship between discrimination/harassment, perceived workstress, and adverse health effects in women police officers.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Women's Health, Workplace Stressors

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: no
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Women's Health: An View Across the Lifespan

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA