Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Robert L. Spivey


There are many operational and organizational stressors in policing. This study was designed to gain a better understanding of what causes police officers in a rural southern state mental and physical stress and to determine how best to assist officers when they are dealing with stress. The purpose of this study was to determine whether organizational or operational issues cause more stress among police officers in a rural southern state. Qualitative research methods and the phenomenological approach to obtain data from participants who have experienced job-related stressors were used. The social construct theory, a theory of knowledge in sociology, was used for this study. Data were collected by conducting interviews with 14 current police officers in a rural southern state with a minimum of two years of experience in rural policing. The in-vivo coding method was used to code the interview data in MAXQDA software. The study revealed that 13 of the 14 participants attributed organizational issues as their main stress factor. The findings from this study may result in positive social change for police officers and subsequently the communities they serve. The police department and the community benefit when officers are in good physical and mental health. Gaining an understanding of what factors contribute to officers' stress and determining ways to treat the effects of stress could contribute to positive social change by having psychologically and emotionally healthy officers on the street and that could strengthen the partnership between a police department and the community it serves.