It is interesting how urban legends get woven into the fabric of society. It is commonly reported that more police officers’ marriages end in divorce than the national average, but is it true? Although more research needs to be done on the subject it appears that this myth is not supported by the data.
Experts can agree, however, that law enforcement is a uniquely stressful job. Setting aside disputed and conflicting divorce rates, let’s focus on identifying some common sources of stress that are faced, to proactively mitigate and manage these stressors.
Sources of stress that officers face
According to the Criminal Justice Institute of the University of Arkansas, there are unique stresses that law enforcement can face. Here are a few:
- Police work: The job of law enforcement can involve shootings, violent crime scenes and intensely confrontational situations of apprehending perpetrators. These unique stressors are not commonly experienced by other citizens.
- Departmental stress: Police department politics, beau acracy and pressure from above are common in law enforcement. It can be frustrating for police officers to see criminals back on the street after being arrested.
- External stress: Being summoned to court, having your face and name published in the press and community backlash are all external stressors that can take their toll.
- Internal stress: If not dealt with, anxiety, stress and depression can set in due to internal stress. Handling one’s personal and professional life takes patience and discipline when managing emotions.
It is self-evident that a career in law enforcement comes with inherent stress due to the danger factor, and stresses on the job can cause problems in one’s personal life.
If having a difficult time managing the stress of a career in law enforcement, it can be beneficial to undergo therapy, meditation and counseling. Additionally, if you are facing divorce, it can be helpful to have legal counsel that understands where your unique needs.