Emotional Labor: An Analysis of Male and Female Police Officers

Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


There have been many studies conducted regarding the intensity, prevalence, sources and effect of stress among police staff for both men and women. However, there has been little to no research that studies how emotional labor is more demanding than physical labor for men and women police officers. The demands of their emotional labor thus can cause adverse consequences such as stress, burnout, emotional exhaustion, dissonance, and family-work conflicts. Thus the question being studied in this research project is: how do female and male police officers do emotional labor? The methodology used to conduct research was based on interviews, both face to face and telephone, of police officers from a local police department that are of different races, genders and ages. The questions asked were then used to interpret how the role of emotions are part of a police officer's labor in addition to the physical labor that are present in every task males and females have to perform. From the ten interviews conducted, perceptions of the physical labor of policing attracted those to want to save the world from criminal offenders and help to contribute to the society. On the contrary, the interviewed police officers later realized the longer one stays the more difficult it becomes to balance the physical and emotional labor of the career. Preliminary results suggest that male and female officers handle emotions differently even when they go through the same emotional training of the job. In addition to their training, police officers should handle their emotions in a professional and calm manner because their department requires both females and males to hide their emotions versus expressing them in order to do their work effectively.


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