Stressors Experienced by State and Federal Probation Officers

Risdon N. Slate and W. Wesley Johnson

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

Stressors Experienced by State and Federal Probation Officers

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  • Criminal and Forensic Psychology


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While there is a body of literature and research that focuses on the job of state probation officers, there is scant research on federal probation officers. This chapter reviews prior research on probation officers, then presents a pilot study that is among the first to compare the stressors experienced by state and federal probation officers. Differences in state and federal probation officers’ stressors are examined and discussed in reference to their role in a human service agency. Particular attention is given to how the nature of their work is related to their wellbeing and system functioning. Results indicate that state and federal probation officers do share some stressors, but also differ on the amount they experience other stressors. Limitations of the study are addressed, recommendations for future exploration are offered, and issues affecting management are discussed.

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

Chapter.  8479 words. 

Subjects: Criminal and Forensic Psychology

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