Gender Differences in Perceived Role Expectations, Mental Health, and Job Satisfaction of Civil Police Constables
Police Role Expectations
organizations, male constables are generally expected to be strong, aggressive,
bold, and authoritative, while female constables are expected to be polite,
facilitative, conformist, accommodating, and nurturing. Female personnel find
it difficult to conform to the role expectations. Officers and public expect
them to perform their role according to their gender.
The role expectations
of the police personnel have been found to be based upon the nature of their
duties at different levels. Interaction between work role expectations and
stereotypic gender role expectations is further complicated within police
Policing is a
hierarchically organized occupation in which there exist strong expectations of
appropriate and inappropriate behavior based upon rank relationship which may
conflict with equally strong expectations based on gender stereotypes. Policing
relies upon well-defined rank relationship and clear expectations that orders
issued by a superior officer will elicit compliance from junior officers.
However, this can conflict with gender role expectations.
Norms based upon
gender role expectations are expected to interact with those based on work role
expectations in predicting the outcome of communication between superiors and
subordinates behavior in role-appropriate role-inappropriate ways. The
policeman’s role has come under considerable scrutiny in the past few years.
Unfortunately, much of the research that deals with the subject is inadequate
with regard to the understanding of the police role in contemporary society. A
major failing has been the lack of an adequate definition, and this has led to
All role expectations
from police personnel have been found to be based upon the nature of their
duties at different levels. It relates to the anticipation of the part played
by a person in a particular social setting, influenced by his/her expectation
of what is appropriate. Since the past few years, police have been experiencing
a major change in their role expectations, and this change has been brought on
in large part by the advent of the community policing philosophy.
In addition, courts
have influenced the police role through decisions regarding the content of
substantive criminal law and by giving instruction as to the due process of
law. Patterson (2011) notes, ‘It is acknowledged across the
globe that traditional policing functions have extended beyond the role of
peace-keeping and law enforcement to incorporate problem-solving, technological
innovations, transnational crime and prevention strategies.’ Yet, while
most modern police organizations have raised their standards for police training
and education, questions of the effectiveness of efforts to transform policing
Mental Health Status of Police Personnel
The World Health Organization (2001) defines the concept of mental health as,
‘a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own
abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and
fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’
aggressive, undisciplined, indifferent, insensitive and unresponsive behavior,
and the conduct of policemen are attributed to stressful situations and
working conditions which inevitably cause unwarranted stress to the members of
police working at various positions. Occurrences of suicides, attempted
suicides and attack on seniors, juniors, and colleagues coupled with
unfortunate incidents of firing and senseless use of weapons are manifestations
of stress on police.
Women in police
service experience tremendous stress. In a survey conducted on police personnel
serving in Gujarat, Patel (2006) found that around 65 percent of women
working in the police were under tremendous work pressures and stress, which was
badly affecting their family life. Parsekar,
Singh, and Bhumika (2015) conducted a cross-sectional study among
police constables in police stations of Udupitaluk, Karnataka, India. The
results of their study indicate that one-fourth of the participants reported having high levels of psychological distress.
Overall, out of 40
sources of stressful activities, 28 sources came out to be significantly
associated with psychological distress.
Mean ranking of 10
stressful activities experienced by the police personnel are staff shortages,
not enough time available to spend with friends and family, occupation-related
health issues, overtime demands, fatigue, finding time to stay in good
condition, eating healthy at work, excessive administrative duties, too much
computer work, lack of training in handling new equipment.