Neighborhoods, Stress, and Police Behavior: Understanding the Relationships

 

 Funded by the National Institute of Justice

 

 Co-Principal Investigators: Brad Smith, Malcolm Cutchin, Charles Klahm, and Sam Zilioli (Wayne State University)

 

Overall project objective:

The overall objective of this project is to comprehensively examine how chronic environmental stressors affect patrol officers’ biopsychological stress response, its behavioral consequences, and the work-related factors that moderate these relationships.

 

Purpose:

The ultimate purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive and empirically based conceptual framework of how environmental stressors and work-related factors are linked to biopsychological stress and police behavior among patrol officers. This model will serve as a basis for future intervention work.

To achieve this, we plan to pursue the following three goals:

  1.  Establish the relationships between patrol environments and patrol officers' biological, psychological, and behavioral stress response (see, specific objectives 1, 2, and 3);
  2. Determine how the various components of the stress response system relate to each other (see, specific objective 4);
  3. Examine work-related factors that moderate the effects of chronic environmental stressors’ on the stress response (see, specific objective 5).

 Specific objectives:

  1.  Determine how physical (i.e., objective neighborhood quality) and social (i.e., social disadvantage) aspects of patrol environments affect endocrine (i.e., cortisol and testosterone) and immune (i.e., Il-6 and C-reactive protein) markers of the biological stress response.
  2.  Determine how physical (i.e., objective neighborhood quality) and social (i.e., social disadvantage) aspects of patrol environments affect psychological states (i.e., perceived stress, anger, anxiety, depression) implicated in the psychological stress response.
  3.  Determine how physical (i.e., objective neighborhood quality) and social (i.e., social disadvantage) aspects of patrol environments affect police-related behaviors (e.g., absenteeism and use of force).
  4.   Establish how the biological and psychological components of the stress response relate to each other within patrol officers and determine how derived biopsychological phenotypes relate to police-related behaviors.
  5. To characterize the cluster of work-related moderators (e.g., policies, organizational support, time in the force) and their role in the environmental stress and the stress response system relationship.

 

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