An Exploration of Stress, Psychological Demands, and Coping in Law Enforcement Officers

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Capstone Project

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Mark Aoyagi

Second Advisor

Artur Poczwardowski


Sport and performance psychology, Law enforcement officers, High-risk occupations


Sport and performance psychology (SPP) is a field that is rapidly growing, especially within the domain of high-risk occupations. In order to practice SPP competently with any population, a certain amount of domain specific knowledge is considered a prerequisite (Aoyagi, Portenga, Poczwardowski, Cohen, & Statler 2012). The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of the ways in which law enforcement officers experience stress and the demands of their workplaces as well as to explore the current coping methods used by law enforcement officers to cope with those stressors and demands. Interpretive phenomenological analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2008) was utilized with six law enforcement officers to examine the participants’ experiences through semi-structured interviews. The following seven categories pertaining to stressors, demands, and coping resources emerged from the responses: (a) administrative duties and expectations, (b) interacting with other individuals, (c) emotional/physiological regulation, (d) extensive preparation, (e) support system, (f) behavioral/cognitive coping, and (g) formal departmental resources. The results of the study supported and expanded on the previous literature and informed a set of practical implications crucial to practitioners who want to develop domain-specific knowledge about, and intervene successfully with, law enforcement officers.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


37 pages

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