Stress and Cardiovascular Disease in Law Enforcement

Warren D. Franke and Sandra L. Ramey

in Stress, Trauma, and Wellbeing in the Legal System

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199829996
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301492 | DOI:

Series: American Psychology-Law Society Series

Stress and Cardiovascular Disease in Law Enforcement

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  • Criminal and Forensic Psychology


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Police officers have higher rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than the general population. While officers have an increased prevalence of some conventional CVD risk factors, the increased CVD is not solely explained by these risk factors. Thus, characteristics of the profession likely contribute to CVD. Job-related stress is frequently suggested as an underlying factor. In this chapter, the evidence for and against stress contributing to CVD risk in law enforcement officers is discussed. While the majority of officers are not markedly stressed, stressed officers do have a higher risk for developing CVD. In general, organizational stress appears more burdensome than operational stress for officers, although the nature and severity of stressors varies by law enforcement department. Mechanisms underlying the stress-CVD relationship remain uncertain, indicating a need for more research to identify these mechanisms. Finally, the chapter concludes with suggestions for improving officer health.

Keywords: stress; trauma; wellbeing; courts; legal system; police officers; law enforcement; innovations

Chapter.  8859 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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