Finn (1998) identified a number of such stressors that, singly or in combination with one another, have the potential to negatively affect a correctional officer's level of jobs satisfaction and sense of workplace "fit" or comfort. These stressors include inmate crowding in correctional institutions, the potential for violent attacks on correctional staff, the presence of gangs in prisons, understaffing, excessive overtime, the demands of shift work, poor communication channels, an inadequate chain of command, role conflict, and supervisory demands. It is the belief of Finn (1998) that stressors of this type engender higher than normal levels of job satisfaction and are also associated with officer burnout, absenteeism, and turnover.
Childress, Talucci, and Wood (1999) characterized stress in the corrections field as "the enemy within." These researchers note that correctional officers, much like police officers, operate in a work environment that is plagued with unusually high levels of stress. They state that studies of correctional officer wellness identify a number of environmental and/or organizational factors that are potential stressors. These include:
. Unrealistic supervisor demands (Childress, et al, 1999).
The consequences of stress, according to Childress, et al (1999), are varied and can include both physical and emotional symptoms. Correctional officers appear to be vulnerable to a variety of stress related illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and gastroenterological problems. Emotional problems can also occur, including increased irritability, feelings of tension and depression, and the manifestation of addictive behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, gambling, and overeating).
These problems have been shown to either cause or exacerbate existing family problems. For example, the average divorce among correctional officers is higher than that of law enforcement office...
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