Police struggle with work/home balance

Shift work, long hours and being unable to switch out of work-role when at home, are just some of the stressors that lead officers to experience anxiety and depression.

These are the key findings of research presented today to the annual conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology in Chester by psychologists Dr Almuth McDowell and Dr Mark Cropley from the University of Surrey and Professor Gail Kinman from the University of Bedfordshire.

The research comprised a large scale survey of police officers and staff from a major police force in the UK. Over 1,200 people were surveyed.

Contrary to public belief, men were just as likely as their women to experience work-family conflicts.
Support from managers, co-workers and senior management, was found to buffer the officers’ experience of work-family conflict on well-being. Support from caring others outside of the police force was not found to offer as much protection.

Dr McDowell commented on these results “Our findings clearly indicate that the demands related to policing are quite pervasive on officers’ non-working lives. This picture is likely not likely to get any better given the current economic climate and cut backs.”