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Female Police Officers in Texas: Perceptions of Colleagues and Stress

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 25 Issue: 2 Dated: 2002 Pages: 385-398
Helen Taylor Greene; Alejandro del Carmen
Date Published
14 pages
This study examined Texas female police officers' perceptions of their colleagues, along with their views of work-related stress.
This cross-sectional study used a 59-item survey administered to 500 sworn female police officers in 29 police agencies throughout Texas during early spring of 2000. Of the 500 surveys mailed, 289 were returned. The survey contained questions that pertained to demographic characteristics, employment history, current assignment, perceptions of the police officer role, experience and treatment, work-related stress, and perceptions of community policing. The findings provide minimal support for either the theory of gendered organizations or the theory of tokenism. Females in agencies with varying percentages of women had similar perceptions of their female and male colleagues, with only a few exceptions. The respondents, regardless of the percentage of females in the agency, acknowledged stress, but did not perceive it to have a negative effect. The findings lend support for Worden's (1993a) "job model," which holds that female officers' perceptions are influenced more by their occupation than their gender. These findings may indicate the progress that women are making in policing; on the other hand, however, perhaps female officers are in denial about how gender and tokenism may actually affect their perceptions. Perhaps an alternative theoretical framework will contribute more to an understanding of the role of both gender and tokenism. Further, symbolic interaction theory may be useful in revealing how accurately female perceptions reflect the reality of their police experiences. 3 tables and 44 references


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