Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire (PSQ-Org)

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).

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 - organizational stress.

Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire

Below is a list of items that describe different aspects of being a police officer. After each item, please circle how much stress it has caused you over the past 6 months, using a 7-point scale (see below) that ranges from “No Stress at All” to “A Lot of Stress”:

No Stress At All     Moderate Stress     A Lot Of Stress
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Dealing with co-workers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2. The feeling that different rules apply to different people (e.g. favouritism) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
3. Feeling like you always have to prove yourself to the organization 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
4. Excessive administrative duties 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
5. Constant changes in policy / legislation 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
6. Staff shortages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
7. Bureaucratic red tape 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8. Too much computer work 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9. Lack of training on new equipment 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
10. Perceived pressure to volunteer free time 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
11. Dealing with supervisors 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
12. Inconsistent leadership style 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
13. Lack of resources 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
14. Unequal sharing of work responsibilities 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
15. If you are sick or injured your co-workers seem to look down on you 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
16. Leaders over-emphasise the negatives (e.g. supervisor evaluations, public complaints) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
17. Internal investigations 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
18. Dealing the court system 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
19. The need to be accountable for doing your job 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
20. Inadequate equipment 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

The Organizational Police Stress Questionnaire is provided free for non-commercial, educational, and research purpos