Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


David P. Milen


The United States currently employs over 1 million police officers. In the current climate, police officers face dangerous situations every day and must learn to deal with the stressors that are associated with these dangers. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to address how law enforcement officers who work in urban police departments and who commonly experience a number of work-related challenges and dangers deal with stress and what methods were used for stress relief in such police departments. The research study was conducted under the theoretical lens of the general strain theory, which emphasizes the importance of geographical differences in occupational stress. The theory deepens the understanding of the organization’s stress, which is manifested through negative emotions in various settings such as police jurisdictions and departments. The research design was qualitative, and the data were collected via telephone interviews. Seven major themes were identified using NVivo version 12 software, which provided the foundation for the analysis of the data. The findings of the study revealed that work-related characteristics are significant in inducing stress among police officers. Additional results further showed that police officers experience stress due to a variety of factors. Among these factors, organizational stressors were recognized as the primary factor causing stress in law enforcement. Organizational factors that caused stress were found mainly in negative relationships with superiors, from immediate supervisors to command staff. For positive social change, it is crucial to improve this relationship and enhance the level of perceived organizational support as well as job satisfaction.