Original Research

Occupational stress in the South African police service

J Pienaar, S Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 32, No 3 | a439 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v32i3.439 | © 2006 J Pienaar, S Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 April 2006 | Published: 23 April 2006

About the author(s)

J Pienaar, North-West University, South Africa
S Rothmann, North-West University, South Africa

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Policing has been described as a stressful occupation. The objectives of this study were to develop and validate a measure that could be used by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to identify the frequency and intensity of occupational stressors and to assess the differences between the stressors for race, rank and gender groups. A cross sectional survey design was used. Stratified random samples (N = 2145) were taken of police members of nine provinces in South Africa. The Police Stress Inventory was developed as a measuring instrument. Three internally consistent factors were extracted through principal component analysis with a direct oblimin rotation. These factors were labelled Job Demands, Lack of Support and Crime-related Stressors. The most important stressors identified were other officers not doing their job, inadequate or poor quality equipment, inadequate salaries, and seeing criminals go free. Analysis of variance showed differences in stressors for rank, race and gender groups.


Stress; Police; Job demands; Lack of support; Crime-related stress


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