Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire (PSQ-Org)

Author of Tool: 

McCreary, D. R., & Thompson, M. M.

Key references: 

McCreary, D.R., & Thompson, M.M. (2006). Development of two reliable and valid measures of stressors in policing: The Operational and Organizational Police Stress Questionnaires. International Journal of Stress Management, 13, 494-518.

Primary use / Purpose: 

A measure of one of the most common stressors associated with policing- organisational stress.

Background: 

The relationship between stress and health (i.e., both physical health and psychological well-being) has received much attention over the years, with researchers demonstrating a consistent association between the two; that is, the more stress people experience, the poorer their physical and mental health. People with higher stress levels report significantly lower overall health and well-being, report the presence of significantly more adverse health symptoms (e.g., increased blood pressure, sleep disturbances), are at greater risk for long-term health problems (e.g., hypertension, coronary artery disease, auto-immune disorders, diabetes), are at greater risk for premature mortality, are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other psychological ailments (e.g., substance abuse), and they utilize significantly more health care resources (e.g., physicians, hospitals, sick days).

 
The association between stress and health is particularly worrisome for those who work in high stress occupations. One of the most highly stressful occupations in North America is policing (e.g., Pendleton, Stotland, Spiers, & Kirsch, 1989). But what are the aspects of policing that are most stressful and what impact do these stressors have on the health and well-being of police officers? This is a complex question, and one that has not been adequately addressed by researchers. While many studies have sought to identify the stressors associated with policing, few have actually tried to link those stressors to officer health and quantify the association.One reason for this is that there is no commonly used measure of police stress. The Organisational Police Stress Questionnaire (PSQ-Org) is the first measure for this construct.

Psychometrics: 

The PSQ-Org was found to be reliable and demonstrated construct validity (correlations between perceived stress and frequency), discriminant validity (compared with general life stressors), and concurrent validity (compared with job satisfaction measures). 

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