prison stress

prison stress - P RISON STAFF AND WORK STRESS: T he Role of...

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PRISON STAFF AND WORK STRESS: The Role of Organizational and Emotional Influences RICHARD TEWKSBURY, Ph.D.1- University of Louisville GEORGE E. HIGGINS, Ph.D. University of Louisville ABSTRACT: Previous research has welt established the influence of demographics and work environment variables on the experience of job stress for correctional officers. However, the literature examining this phenomenon for other correctional staff is just beginning to emerge. Scant attention has also been previously devoted to the potential role of emotional issues, such as emotional dissonance, work environment variables of perceived organizational fairness, and feedback regarding job performance. The present research adds to this emerging literature through use of survey data from a sample of correctional staff employed in two prisons in Kentucky. Bivariate and multivariate analyses reveal that influ- ences on perceived work stress are primarily organizational issues, including role conflict, emotional dissonance, and task control. Contrary to popular belief, the percent of one's work time spent in contact with inmates reduces the exper&nce of work stress. INTRODUCTION Occupational stress and stressors are realities in criminal justice and elsewhere, with detrimental results for organizations. To maximize organizational efficacy and efficiency, an understanding of the factors that influence occupational stress is necessary. For instance, when staff of criminal justice agencies (as with just about any organization) experi- ence high levels of stress they are likely to be less satisfied with their jobs (Maahs & Pratt, 2001). Additionally, staff with high levels of stress are likely to be less effective at their jobs (Spector & Fox, 2005; Wright et at., 1997), and they are more likely to display withdrawal symptoms of increased absenteeism, tardiness, and an anticipation of turnover (Ja- mal, 1984). In corrections, staff with lower-quality job performance and ? Direct all correspondence to: Richard Tewksbury, University of Louisville, De- partment of Justice Administration, Louisville, KY 40292. Email: [email protected] AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, Vol. 30 No. 2, 2006 2006 Southern Criminal Justice Association
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248 PRISON STAFF AND WORK STRESS those who withdraw from their jobs can present serious, deleterious ef- fects on institutional operations and safety. The nature, degree, type, and consequences of job stress and the factors that induce stress for correctional workers have been the subject of study for several decades. However, the range of identified stressors and environmental conditions within correctional facilities that are re- lated with levels of work stress remains fairly narrow at present. The current research seeks to add to this body of literature and to expand the factt)rs considered to be possible stressors by including aspects of the emotional and psychological nature of correctional work. An en- hancement of the issues believed to be potential contributors to work stress may make it possible to develop, refine, and implement more ef-
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This note was uploaded on 09/05/2011 for the course CJ 104 taught by Professor Hatch during the Spring '11 term at Boise State.

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prison stress - P RISON STAFF AND WORK STRESS: T he Role of...

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