Posted: February 26th, 2023


 must be 250 words 3 resources/citations (1 the article attached, the holy bible and one outside source)

After reading the article “Controlled Burn: The Gendering of Stress  and Burnout in Modern Policing” by Kurtz, focus on the results of this  article and discuss:

  • Do you understand the results? Why or why not?
  • What recommendations do you have for presenting the results of this research so that a police executive could use them?


Author’s Note: I would like to thank the Division of Women and Crime graduate student paper review-
ers and committee for awarding an earlier version of this article honorable mention in 2005. I would also
like to acknowledge the theoretical and practical guidance of Dr. L. Susan Williams and Dr. Dana Britton
for the foundations of this article. Finally, I want to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers of Feminist
Criminology for suggestions and criticisms that greatly improved the final version of this article. Please
address correspondence to Don L. Kurtz, PhD, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work,
Kansas State University, 204 Waters Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-4003; e-mail:

Feminist Criminology
Volume 3 Number 3
July 2008 216-238

© 2008 Sage Publications
hosted at

Controlled Burn
The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in
Modern Policing
Don L. Kurtz
Kansas State University

Despite the interest in the interplay between subcultural attitudes, organizational
structure, and high stress events, most research on police stress fails to address a
fundamental concern—that of gender. In fact, the majority of research addressing officer
stress fails to mention gender or concentrates on gender as a simple control variable. Data
from the Police Stress and Domestic Violence in Police Families in Baltimore, Maryland,
1997-1999 study were analyzed to examine how gender affects stress and burnout in law
enforcement. Findings indicate that stress and burnout by officers is embedded in the
gender structure and process of policing and not simply a response to high stress events.

Keywords: policing; stress; burnout; masculinity; gender and policing; social construc-
tion of gender; gendered organization theory

Asignificant body of research contends that policing is one of the most stressful
professions in American society (Anderson, Litzenberger, & Plecas, 2002;

Harpold & Feenster, 2002; Howard, Howard Donofrio, & Boles, 2004; Liberman
et al., 2002; Lott, 1995). Officer stress is associated with a number of negative
behaviors and psychological outcomes, including high rates of substance abuse,
divorce, suicide, and violence (Harpold & Feenster, 2002; Lott, 1995; Violanti,
1996). Attempts to deal with officer stress and burnout generally focus on psycho-
logical, physical, or psychiatric responses to critical incidents or high stress work
environments (Anderson et al., 2002; Brooks & Piquero, 1998; Liberman et al.,
2002; Loo, 2004; Mashburn, 1993; Purpura, 2001). Some scholars identify a sub-
culture of policing through which selected behaviors and attitudes influence officers’
reactions to organizational and job related stress (Harpold & Feenster, 2002; Purpura,
2001). Despite interest in the interplay among subcultural attitudes, organizational

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 217

structure and high stress events, most research addressing officer stress fails to incor-
porate gender issues. This research extends the current literature by addressing a fun-
damental question: How does gender shape police stress and burnout?

Literature Review

Officer Stress and Burnout

A number of factors directly associated with law enforcement are identified as
sources of stress and burnout, including the nature of the job requirements, police
organizational structure, and interactions with the public (Anderson et al., 2002;
Harpold & Feenster, 2002; He, Zhao, & Archbold, 2002; Liberman et al., 2002).
These areas are not mutually exclusive factors, and stress in one area likely aggra-
vates anxiety in another (He et al., 2002).

Police Stress and Burnout

Research supports the idea that stress leads to a number of problems for both the
individual employed in law enforcement and the policing agency as a whole
(Anderson et al., 2002). A number of social scientists have drawn connections
between stress and problems with health related issues including increased anxiety
and alcohol use, hypertension, insomnia, migraine headaches, and heart disease
(Harpold & Feenster, 2002; He et al., 2002; Liberman et al., 2002). Stress also
results in bio-physical responses such as elevated heart rate, increased blood pres-
sure, increased muscle tension, increased acid secretion (Anderson et al., 2002), and
psychological concerns like burnout and fatigue (Harpold & Feenster, 2002). These
responses may vary according to the officer’s assessment of the situational demands
and his or her ability to deal with the circumstances (Anderson et al., 2002).

Some research asserts that acute responses to stressful events, generally, are asso-
ciated with critical incidents (Anderson et al., 2002; Liberman et al., 2002), which
are situations when an officer witnesses or is confronted with the potential for seri-
ous injury or death (Liberman et. al., 2002). Several work environment stressors are
identified in the literature as critical incidents including shooting somebody in the
line of duty, making a violent arrest, responding to a gruesome crime scene, or deal-
ing with fatal accidents (He et al., 2002). Although police officers frequently face
hostile citizens, life-threatening events rarely occur in policing (Hart, Wearing, &
Headey, 1993). In fact, some research finds that danger is not a significant cause of
daily stress among police officers (Hart et al., 1993); however, critical incident stress
also may occur when officers perceive stress-inducing events as situations that are
beyond their immediate control (Anderson et al., 2002).

Whereas critical incidents can result in acute psychosocial stress that may cause
any number of short-term behavioral or psychological difficulties, chronic stress

builds over time and frequently is related to the work environment, the nature of
interpersonal relationships, issues associated with organizational structures, and
stressors inherent to the job requirements of policing (Anderson et al., 2002; He
et al., 2002; Liberman et al., 2002; Weber & Leeper, 1998). Nonviolent work-related
stressors include, shift work, overtime, negative time management, paperwork, and
physical requirements such as walking patrols and carrying heavy equipment.
Problems of this type are more likely to compound and create chronic stress.
Chronic stress may not immediately overwhelm the officer’s coping ability, but over
time it can result in negative consequences or overpower stress management skills
(Anderson et al., 2002).

One consequence of chronic stress is the psychological concept known as
burnout. Although burnout and stress represent connected psychological concepts,
some important distinctions are noted. Currently in the police stress literature, no
universal term exists to describe stress or burnout (Liberman et al., 2002; Loo,
2004). Frequently, researchers conceive of stress as the reaction or response to neg-
ative or emotionally challenging stimuli (Liberman et al., 2002). On the other hand,
burnout can represent the cumulative influence of long-term stress and includes
aspects of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (Loo, 2004).

Several aspects of police organizations are identified as sources of elevated stress
and burnout. These factors include frustration with the criminal justice system,
departmental politics and lack of departmental support, concerns with the promo-
tional process, poor training (Anderson et al., 2002), and the bureaucratic nature of
law enforcement (He et al., 2002). The size of the law enforcement agency may also
influence the potential for stress and burnout. Most research on stress and burnout
focuses on larger departments located in urban centers (Brooks & Piquero, 1998).
Patrol officers from large departments generally have greater stress across a number
of variables including organizational structure, administrative arenas, public demands,
fear of danger, and interactions with other areas of the criminal justice system
(Brooks & Piquero, 1998).

Interpersonal relationships also have a significant influence on the development
of stress and burnout. Interpersonal relationships refer to both personal relationships,
like friends and family, and job-related relationships, such as patrol partners or shift
supervisors. Family responsibilities may both enhance and mediate stress for officers
depending on the nature of the interpersonal relationships. For example, some
research shows that family support reduces stress for men/husbands (He et al.,
2002). Work requirements, however, may directly conflict with obligations at home
creating stress in both environments (Howard et al., 2004). Stress generated from
conflicts between work and home also may exacerbate work-related pressures.
Work–family conflicts can reduce job satisfaction and increase emotional exhaustion
and burnout. This relationship may be more pronounced for female officers who are
expected to maintain domestic roles as mothers, wives, and caregivers; however, this
issue has not been the target of much empirical evaluation (He et al., 2002).

218 Feminist Criminology

Peers also are an important source of interpersonal support for police officers and
provide context for understanding police behaviors (Brooks & Piquero, 1998;
Violanti, 1997). Shared work experiences allow officers to develop a mutual under-
standing of work stressors that can serve as a protective factor in terms of stress and
burnout, although a significant amount of research has established that police peer
relations also may become a source of hostility, stress, discrimination, and cynicism
(Brown, 1998; Harpold & Feenster, 2002; S. Martin, 1994; Miller, Forest, & Jurik,
2003). As such, these relationships may indirectly increase rather than decrease
levels of stress and burnout.

Finally, the research suggests that a number of demographic variables are related
to stress and burnout among police officers. These factors include age, officer rank,
and length of service (Lennings, 1997). Some research finds a positive relationship
between an officer’s age and increased stress levels (Brooks & Piquero, 1998;
Lennings, 1997). Many police managers with higher rank also struggle with burnout
and stress (Loo, 2004). Another demographic variable linked to stress is years of ser-
vice which appears to demonstrate a curvilinear effect. Officers in their first few
years of service and those close to retirement have the lowest levels of stress,
whereas officers in the middle years of employment appear to have elevated stress
(Brooks & Piquero, 1998; Lennings, 1997). There is also a limited body of research
indicating that men and women in law enforcement may experience and manage
stress differently (He et al., 2002). For example, Loo (2004) found stress on male
officers generates only moderate levels of burnout, whereas female officers show
higher levels. Garcia (2003) found that perception of gender roles attached to differ-
ent job task also influences the level of stress for women officers.

The current study will examine several distinct conceptual sources of officer
stress and burnout including stressors related to work requirements, organizational
structures, and interpersonal relationships. It also extends the current literature by
addressing a fundamental question: How does gender influence reactions to stress
and burnout? Gendered organization theory, the concept of hegemonic masculinity,
the social construction of gender, and ideas about the intersectionality of race and
gender are used to explore this question.

Gendered Organization

The gendered organization framework provides a theory that extends beyond
some of the limitations in the current police stress literature. Acker (1990) argues
that the gendering of organizations occurs along five interactive and interconnected
processes. The first component is a division of labor by gender. Quite simply, this
means that men and women perform different tasks within an organization. The sec-
ond factor is the creation of images that account for, oppose, or reinforce cultural
ideas about gender. The third process explores how gender guides social interactions

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 219

among people within an organization. The fourth component examines how gen-
dered activities shape individual identities in an organization. The last factor deals
with the ways in which gender frames social and organizational structures and
becomes a vital aspect of how individuals understand the practices and perceptions
that dominate organizational culture (Acker, 1990; Britton, 2003). Because of data
limitations, the current research will focus on two areas of gendered organizations—
gendered images and interactions. A detailed explanation of the proxy variables is
available in the Method section.

Hegemonic Masculinity

Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity also is
important to the current research. Hegemonic masculinity refers to the idea that men
dominate women on a global level, and this notion explains differentiation between
men and women. In fact, hegemonic masculinity not only establishes the gender
relations between men and women but also among men because hegemonic mas-
culinity establishes a dominant idea of what it means to be a man and all other con-
ceptions are constructed as something other than masculine. Hegemonic masculinity
generally is not maintained by force, although both physical and economic force can
be used to bolster the masculine dominance of society (Connell,1987).

The relevancy of hegemonic masculinity to policing is evident in several ways.
Policing is clearly a profession with an organizational structure that supports
hegemonic masculinity; women, homosexuals, and nonmasculine traits are often
shunned in law enforcement. Characteristics that have been traditionally associated
with a good police officer—fearlessness, heroic demeanor, physical and emotional
strength, assertiveness, and intelligence (Darien, 2002; Moore, 1999)—are features
of hegemonic masculinity. Policing also directly involves the use of violence and
force as a means to maintain social order; consequently, policing helps reinforce
hegemonic masculinity, for example, by enforcing laws that limit other forms of
masculinity, such as laws that target the gay community or make certain sexual prac-
tices illegal (i.e. homosexuality, sodomy).

Recent work on hegemonic masculinity by Connell and Messerschmidt (2005)
describes the complexity associated with masculinity and notes that different con-
structions of masculinity may operate on different levels. In particular, the authors
formulate research oriented hierarchies of hegemonic masculinity that include local,
regional, and global arenas. Locally constructed masculinity may develop in direct
interactions found in face-to-face contact, organizational contexts, and community
relations. Regionally constructed masculinity operates more prevalently on the level
of culture and nation. Finally, globally constructed hegemonic masculinity is assem-
bled within world politics and media.

Localized differences in hegemonic masculinity among police officers may reflect
the nature of police organizational practices, interactions in local police agencies, and

220 Feminist Criminology

the nature of crime and stress attributed to local communities whereas regional and
global influences of hegemonic masculinity in policing may vary. For example, the
same masculine perception of police officers in Texas may not be present in officers
in New York. Similarly, the ways in which masculinity are demonstrated in policing
in the United States may not be present in officers in other parts of the world; how-
ever, some consistent conceptions of hegemonic masculinity related to law enforce-
ment permeate all three of Connell and Messerschmidt’s levels of analysis. For
example, law enforcement officers throughout the world have a relationship to state
sponsored use of violence that could reinforce conceptions of hegemonic masculinity.

Community-level aspects of hegemonic masculinity provide a rich context for
understanding the problem of stress and burnout. Community differences influence
law enforcement agencies in a number of ways. First, police organizations primarily
recruit new officers from their local community; therefore, localized aspects of the
community extend directly into organizational culture. Second, the size of the com-
munity likely influences organizational structure, size, and specialization of depart-
ments. Third, communities influence the daily behavior of officers through local
standards of behavior (Liederbach & Frank, 2006).

Although local context influences the conception of police masculinity, some sim-
ilar traits also should be observed at the regional level. For example, research demon-
strates that police officers, as a rule, reject alternative forms of masculinity, specifically
gay masculinity (Miller et al., 2003), which is associated with (or assumed to repre-
sent) femininity. Power and physical aggression are associated with hegemonic mas-
culinity and therefore incompatible with emphasized femininity (Connell, 1987). The
association between hegemonic masculinity and policing leaves little room for femi-
nine traits in the daily activity of law enforcement officers and limits the possible
response patterns officers can select when faced with stress and burnout.

Social Construction of Gender

The final concept relevant to this article is the idea of doing gender as developed
by West and Zimmerman (1987). Doing gender involves creating perceived differ-
ences between what is considered masculine and feminine and then using these dif-
ferences to justify gender as essential or biologically linked. This process is not
necessarily a conscious decision by the actors. Doing gender involves organizing
activities in a way that conveys gender and perceiving the actions of others as related
to gender (West & Zimmerman, 1987). In this theoretical framework, gender is no
longer a static social category, but a process used to reinforce the concept of mascu-
line and feminine traits. Gender becomes an accomplishment and not an inherent
property of an individual. Through the doing gender process, particular behaviors,
pursuits, social interactions, and social–psychological perceptions become associated
with a natural understanding of what is masculine or feminine (West & Zimmerman,
1987). This creates situations in which behaviors are deemed as part of gender.

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 221

This situational practice of doing of gender also extends to work related stress and
definitions of responses as masculine or feminine. In law enforcement, this situated
doing involves expectations of how officers respond to the daily hassles and/or the
unique situations of policing. Officers are required by both the public and other offi-
cers to react in ways consistent with the image of policing. In policing, a profession
highly associated with masculine ideals, doing police masculinity may involve
expressing a number of behaviors that enhance gender specific displays. Violence,
the use of force, controlling conduct, assertiveness, self-reliance, and other behav-
iors associated with a good police officer are also associated with accomplishing
masculinity. Doing police masculinity and performing police activities are intercon-
nected and mutually reinforcing behaviors that enhance common sense assumptions
about police officers and the occupation’s connection to masculinity.

Intersections of Race and Gender

Although this research primarily focuses on aspects of gender in police work
environments, race remains a theoretical and methodological consideration as well.
Some research indicates that both gender and race affect officer assignments, gen-
eral behavior patterns in police organizations, and perceptions of treatment by peers
(Dodge & Pogrebin, 2001; S. Martin, 1994). Currently, some scholars are attending
to the interactive nature of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation (Burgess-
Proctor, 2006; Barak, Flavin, & Leighton, 2007). For example, S. Martin’s compre-
hensive research of five police agencies found that race, class, and gender guide
organizational behavior, gender interactions, and officer conduct. The interactions
between men and women, between women, and between Black and White individu-
als aligned with the historical context of policing as both White and male. Race also
played a significant role in the gendering process. Men either reified White women
as objects of sexual desire or glorified secretaries. White male officers viewed Black
women as a source of labor (S. Martin, 1994). Similarly, Dodge and Pogrebin (2001)
used the intersection approach to their qualitative study of police professional rela-
tionships, finding that the intersections of race and gender shaped perceptions of the
officers. The researchers found that masculine norms in police organizations height-
ened the marginalization of both women and other minorities. The authors state,
“The exclusion of black women is apparent in their relationships with fellow offi-
cers; black and white, male and female” (p. 559).

The current research explores the relationship between gender, stress, and
burnout. Building from theories that focus on gender, this research examines the
relationship between gender and police psychological and behavioral outcomes to
determine some of the ways that hegemonic masculinity and the process of doing
gender contributes to police stress and burnout. It also explores the intersections of
race and gender to evaluate their impact on stress and burnout.

222 Feminist Criminology


The data from this study come from an existing data source: The Police Stress and
Domestic Violence in Police Families in Baltimore, Maryland 1997-19991 (Gershon,
2000). This study contained a 5-page questionnaire that assessed officer stressors,
negative health outcomes, current stress levels, level of support, and use of violence
by police officers.


The survey was distributed to officers of the Baltimore Police Department during
roll calls for all shifts in all nine of Baltimore’s precincts and their headquarters. At
the time of the survey, the Baltimore Police Department had slightly more than 2,500
sworn officers; approximately 1,200 surveys were distributed and 1,104 officers
(92%) completed the questionnaire.


For the purposes of this project, several sets of variables from the survey were
used including demographic characteristics, nature of interpersonal relationships,
work related events, psychological and physiological responses to stress, level of
burnout, and perceptions related to gender dynamics. Comparative cross tabulations
and quantitative analysis are employed with these variable groupings. All missing
data for each variable were coded as missing and the case was excluded in regres-
sion analysis. The data set had very few missing cases and the valid numbers are
included as a note in each regression table.

The specific demographic variables included in these analyses are sex, race, edu-
cational level, and marital status. For quantitative analysis, dummy variables repre-
sent each demographic category. To explore differences along the intersections of
race and gender in nongender spilt models, race and sex categories were combined
to create four groups: African American females, African American males, White
females, and White males. Dummy variables were also created to assess marital sta-
tus and college education. Officer reporting that they are currently married are coded
as one with all other responses coded as zero. Similarly, officer with at least a col-
lege degree are coded as one (1) with all other groups coded as zero (0). The descrip-
tion of the sample reported in Table 1 also includes simple frequency distribution
information on the rank of officers within this sample.

Several dummy variables measured support by family and administrative offi-
cials. A measure of family support was coded as one (1) for officers who agree or
strongly agree with the following statement: “I feel that I can rely on support from
my family.” Officers who remained neutral or disagreed were coded as zero (0).
Support of administration was coded as one (1) for officers who agree or strongly

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 223

224 Feminist Criminology

agree that “The administration supports officer who are in trouble.” Officers dis-
agreeing with this statement were coded as zero (0).

Dummy variables also measured officer responses to critical events. Respondents
were asked if they were “emotionally” affected or fearful of work-related stressful
events. The events included making a violent arrest, shooting someone in the line of
duty, knowing the victim or perpetrator of a crime, and being the subject of an inter-
nal affairs investigation. The variable was coded as one (1) for participants who
answered “Very much,” and zero (0) for those answering “a little” or “not at all.”

The acceptability of women in law enforcement was measured by creating
dummy variables from responses to two statements: (a) Gender-related jokes are
often made and (b) The department is lenient in enforcing rules for female officers.
Variables were coded as one (1) for those respondents who agreed or strongly agreed
and zero (0) for respondents who were neutral, disagreed, or strongly disagreed with
these statements.2 The first variable served as a proxy variable for aspects of gender
interaction in the workplace and the second provided a proxy for the image of
women in law enforcement agencies.

The questionnaire used several Likert scales that address elements of stress.
Respondents were asked if they experienced the following 7 signs of psychological

Table 1
Characteristics of Survey Respondents

n Percentage

African American women 102 9.2
White women 51 4.6
African American men 253 22.9
White men 643 58.2

Martial status
Married 658 59.6
Live-in partner 88 8.0
Divorced/separated 135 12.2
Single 213 19.3

Officer/trainee 692 62.6
Detective 144 13.0
Sergeant 143 13.0
Agent 62 5.6
Lieutenant or above 59 5.3

Level of education
High school 165 14.9
Some college 603 54.6
College degree 285 25.8
Graduate school 41 3.7

stress in the past 6 months: restlessness, feeling hopeless, panic attacks, irritability,
withdrawal, depression, and emotional depletion. The physiological portion of this
index used five questions assessing whether respondents had experienced nausea,
trouble getting their breath, a lump in the throat, pains or pounding in the chest, and
faintness or dizziness in the 6 months prior to the survey. A 4-point Likert scale with
possible answers ranging from never to always was used. Many of these items mea-
sured the same latent traits, and for the purposes of quantitative analysis, they were
combined into a single item measuring both physical and psychological stress. The
index scores ranged from 12 to 48 (α = .82).

The burnout index was constructed by combining responses to the following three
questions: I feel like I am on automatic pilot most times, I feel burned out from my job,
and I feel like I’m at the end of the rope. The possible responses ranged from strongly
disagree to strongly agree. The range on this index was from 3 to 15 (α = .78).


Table 1 displays general characteristics of the survey respondents. The vast
majority of respondents in the sample were White male (n = 643), constituting 58%
of the sample. The next largest group was African American males (n = 253) who
represented about 23% of the sample population. Not surprisingly, women repre-
sented the lowest proportion of survey participants. About 14% of the sample were
women; 9% (n = 102) were African American and 5% were White (n = 51). The sam-
ple also included a small number of Hispanic males (n = 14) and 24 individuals
selected other as a race category. Unknown participants (n = 10) were coded as 9 and
excluded in all regression analysis.

Patrol officers and patrol officers trainees represented the majority of respondents
(n = 692) and made up 62% of the sample, whereas 5% of the participants were high-
ranking officers holding the rank of lieutenant or higher (n = 59). Officers also help
various other positions within the department including detective (n = 144), sergeant
(n = 143), and agent (n = 62). The sample had only 4 missing cases. Nearly 60% of
the sample was married with an additional 8% having a live-in partner. Roughly 12%
of those sampled were divorced or separated and slightly more than 19% were sin-
gle. In keeping with the movement to professionalize law enforcement, the vast
majority of officers in this study had some college education (85%) and more than a
quarter of respondents held a college degree. In this sample, education level was
similar for both genders; roughly, 28% of female officers held a college degree com-
pared with 26% of the males.

The rank and job distribution of officers in the Baltimore Police Department at the
time of the survey reflects the fact that few women advance beyond simple patrol
duties in modern law enforcement (Schulz, 1995). Only 4 of the 59 survey respondents
who held the office of lieutenant or above are women, and 14 female respondents held

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 225

226 Feminist Criminology

the position of sergeant. This means that roughly 2% of the women completing the
survey held positions of sergeant or greater. The males in the survey appeared to
have better avenues for advancement within the organization. Nearly one in five
male officers (19.5%) in the survey holds the position of sergeant or greater. Given
the small number of female offices with rank in the sample, this variable had to be
excluded from the regression analyses.

The survey contained multiple questions about sources of support and stress in law
enforcement. Approximately 2% of (n = 23) officers within the sample agreed that the
department supports officers in trouble. On the other hand, nearly 41% feel they have
support from their family members. Nearly one in five officers reports some emo-
tional concern with making a violent arrest; however, shooting someone in the line of
duty was disconcerting to only 8% of the sample. Knowing the victim or offender of
a criminal incident was regarded as a concern for 16% of the officers. Finally, the
greatest emotional stressor in this sample was being the subject of an internal inves-
tigation with nearly 34% of the sample reporting concern about this stressor.

The gender proxy variables displayed divergent response patterns based on the
race and gender of the respondent. White women were most likely to report that gen-
der-related jokes were common in the work environment; 51% agreed that such
jokes were repeatedly made within the department. African American women repre-
sented the second largest percentage; more than one in three African American
women (36%) agreed with this statement. Roughly 29% of the African American
men agreed that gender-related jokes are commonplace. White males were statisti-
cally the least likely to believe that gender-related jokes were common and about one
in four (24%) of these respondents agreed with the statement. Similarly, more than
half (55%) of White males believe that the department is more lenient toward female
officers as opposed to 28% of African American males, 8% of the White females,
and 1% of African American women.

To better understand the complex relationship between stressful situations and
gender dynamics, the current study used several regression models. The first regres-
sion model treated officer stress as a dependent variable.3 The results are shown in
Table 2. Several demographic variables reached statistical significance. African
American and White women showed slightly elevated rates of stress, whereas
African American males demonstrated reduced levels of stress compared with White
men. Two background variables exerted significant influence on psychophysical
stress. High levels of family support (b = −1.320) or a college education (b = −.825)
reduced stress scores.

This regression model also affirmed much of the traditional literature linking
work-related critical incidents to stress. Concerns about making a violent arrest (b =
.945), being the target of an investigation (b = 2.509), and personally knowing the
victim or offender (b = 1.839) of a criminal investigation increased the level of psy-
chophysical stress. Administrative support, fear of shooting somebody on the job, and
responding to a bloody crime scene were not statistically significant in this model.

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 227

The proxy variables for gendered interactions and perception of leniency toward
women in law enforcement were significantly related to stress. The prevalence of
gender-related jokes (b = .567) and the belief that the department was lenient on
women (b = .602) were associated with increased stress, even when controlling for
traditional predictors. In fact, the beta weights of these two variables were the second
and fifth strongest in the model.

Table 2 also displays the second regression equation dealing with officer burnout.
This analysis supports a relationship between stress and burnout and provides evi-
dence of the influence of gendered behavior on burnout. Several independent vari-
ables in this regression model affected the variance in burnout scores. Interestingly,
being an African American man was associated with a higher likelihood of experi-
encing burnout, but this relationship was not statistically significant for African
American women or White women. None of the work-related events remained sig-
nificant in the burnout equation, although all these variables were indirectly related
to burnout because they increased stress, which was included as an independent
variable in this model. The stress index had a positive and strong correlation with
burnout (b = .246). In each of these regression equations family support had a neg-
ative relationship with stress and burnout indicating that, among this sample, high
family support mediated stress and burnout. In accordance with the theoretical

Table 2
Ordinary Least Squares Regressions for Officer Stress and Burnout

Stress Model Burnout Model

Variables b SE Beta b SE Beta

African American women 1.995 0.576 .109*** 0.009 0.254 .011
White women 2.495 0.757 .098*** −0.529 0.333 −.043
African American men −1.073 0.377 −.084** 0.462 0.166 .075**
College degree −0.825 0.337 −.068* −0.121 0.148 −.021
Administrative support 0.465 1.022 .013 −0.339 0.458 −.019
Family support −1.320 0.300 −.123*** −0.475 0.133 −.091***
Violent arrest 0.945 0.419 .071* 0.347 0.184 .054
Shot 0.631 0.550 .033 −0.007 0.241 −.008
Investigation 2.509 0.330 .225*** 0.274 0.148 .050
Know victim/offender 1.839 0.424 .129*** −0.132 0.188 −.019
Bloody crime 0.576 0.459 .039 0.118 0.201 .017
Gender jokes 0.567 0.139 .117*** 0.223 0.061 .095***
Lenient perception 0.602 0.148 .132*** 0.237 0.065 .107***
Stress — — — 0.246 0.014 .507***

Note: SE = standard error. White males serve as the reference category for all spilt models. Stress model
n = 1,051 and burnout n = 1,034.
*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.

228 Feminist Criminology

orientation of this article, variables measuring gendered jokes and perception of
leniency were statistically significant and had a positive relationship with burnout,
even after controlling for other relevant factors, including stress.

The theoretical framing of this study suggests that experiences of police officers
are qualitatively different for women and men and Table 3 reports gender split
regression models. The R2 statistic is slightly weaker for women (.162) than for men
(.210), and there were some variations in the models. African Americans and those
holding a college degree reported less stress among men. These variables were not
statistically significant in the model for female officers. Men with lower levels of
family support demonstrated significant increases in stress; however, this variable
was not significant for women. Work-related events displayed some variation as
well. For men, emotional concern over knowing a victim or offender was statistically
significant. For women, these variables were not significantly correlated with stress;
instead concern for making a violent arrest was significantly associated with
increased stress. The strongest variable in both models was being the subject of an
investigation by the department, indicating internal investigations were a noteworthy
source of stress for both men and women. To test for interaction effects between gen-
der and stress and burnout outcomes, separate regression models are used for male
and female officers, calculating Z values to determine if the regression coefficients
differ significantly across these categories.4 Calculated Z values indicate no group
differences among work related events between the stress models.

Table 3
Ordinary Least Squares Regression Analysis for Stress by Gender

Men Women

Variable b SE Beta b SE Beta Significant Z

African American −1.055 0.368 −.090** 0.009 1.000 .002 No
College degree −0.906 0.354 −.077* −0.109 1.026 −.008 No
Administrative support 0.996 1.072 .028 −5.036 3.274 −.120 No
Family support −1.328 0.315 −.126*** −1.118 0.910 −.094 No
Violent arrest 0.544 0.444 .042 2.826 1.282 .190* No
Shot 0.469 0.559 .026 3.047 2.259 .110 No
Investigation 2.406 0.343 .223*** 3.047 1.081 .229** No
Know victim/offender 1.920 0.449 .135*** 0.470 1.283 .032 No
Bloody crime 0.886 0.490 .061 −1.111 1.303 −.072 No
Gender jokes 0.498 0.147 .104*** 1.015 0.421 .195* No
Lenient perception 0.741 0.153 .154*** −0.718 0.530 −.105 Yes

Adjusted R2 = .210, F < .001 Adjusted R2 = .162, F < .001

Note: SE = standard error. Men regression n = 903 and women regression n = 148.
*p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 229

The gender-related questions were linked to greater levels of stress for both
women and men officers. For women, the presence of gender-related jokes signifi-
cantly affected stress levels, but the perception of leniency for female officers did
not have an effect. For men, both gendered jokes and the perception of leniency
toward women were associated with increases in stress. The Z value for the leniency
perception variable is statistically significant, indicating 95% confidence that the
observed difference between men and women was not due to chance.

Similarly, separate regression models were used for male and female officers
to evaluate burnout. Table 4 reports these results. For females the R2 statistic is
slightly lower (.353) than the model for males (.362). Stress strongly correlated
with burnout among both female and male officers and beta weights indicated
that it was the strongest variable for both groups. Similarly, the lack of family
support resulted in increased levels of officer burnout for both men and women.
The significance of work-related events was minimal in both models, however,
there were differences based on gender. Men who were concerned about making
violent arrests experienced increased levels of burnout. Women who were con-
cerned about being the subject of an internal investigation experienced increased
burnout. This is also the only work-related variable that had a significant Z value,
indicating this observed difference is not due to chance. Both gender-related
questions were linked to greater levels of burnout for male officers, but neither
variables affected levels of burnout for women.

Table 4
Ordinary Least Squares Regression Analysis for Officer Burnout by Gender

Men Women

Variable b SE Beta b SE Beta Significant Z

African American 0.465 0.166 .079** 0.596 0.377 .112 No
College degree −0.110 0.160 −.019 0.001 0.387 .002 No
Administrative support −0.001 0.495 −.001 −2.093 1.247 −.116* No
Family support −0.406 0.143 −.078** −0.920 0.346 −.180** No
Violent arrest 0.486 0.199 .075* −0.426 0.493 −.067 No
Shot −0.003 0.251 -.003 0.004 0.859 .003 No
Investigation 0.121 0.158 .022 1.198 0.420 .210** Yes
Know victim/offender −0.167 0.204 −.024 0.008 0.485 .013 No
Bloody crime −0.117 0.220 −.016 0.970 0.493 .146 No
Gender jokes 0.257 0.066 .108*** 0.000 0.162 .027 No
Lenient perception 0.224 0.070 .094*** 0.136 0.201 .046 Yes
Stress 0.259 0.015 .519*** 0.192 0.032 .448*** Yes

Adjusted R2 = .362, F < .001 Adjusted R2 = .353, F < .001

Note: Men regression n = 887 and women regression n = 147.
*p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

230 Feminist Criminology


A number of factors directly associated with law enforcement have been identi-
fied as sources of stress and burnout including job requirements, making violent
arrests, police internal investigations, and interactions with the public. The current
research not only regenerated prior findings connecting police work events with
stress and burnout in regression models, but also indicated that new and often
neglected variables, including those related to gender, were important to under-
standing both stress and burnout.

The findings provide some evidence of demographic differences related to stress
and burnout. In the split gender model, male officers with college degrees were less
apt to evidence stress than officers without an education. This finding is not entirely
clear nor is it evident why this finding held true for men and not women. Given the
importance of the gender variables in this study, perhaps there was an interaction
affect between education and beliefs about women in policing. It is possible that
higher education results in more limited endorsement of gender prejudice, especially
for men, which in turn impacts stress levels. In other words, perhaps higher educa-
tion challenges men’s prejudices about women in the workplace and general sexist
attitudes, which, in turn, makes it more stressful when entering an occupation where
these attitudes are commonplace. Similarly, perhaps the hegemonic masculinity evi-
dent in policing makes it difficult (e.g. stressful) for more enlightened/educated men
to confront the sexist behavior and/or treatment of their fellow female workers.

There were indications that race and gender intersect in interesting ways. Women,
both White and African American, reported higher levels of stress than White men;
however, African American men indicated lower levels of stress than White men.
Although it is not surprising that women experience more stress than men given the
gendered nature of the organization and the reports of hostile work environments in
many police departments, it is not clear why African American men reported lower
levels of stress than White men. These findings are even more intriguing when cou-
pled with the effects of race and gender on burnout. There are no apparent effects of
race and gender on burnout, with one exception. African American men, though
experiencing lower rates of stress, exhibit higher levels of burnout than White men.
Additional research, especially qualitative studies, should be explored to help flush
out these findings in more detail. Perhaps African American men are better than
White men and women at mitigating stress (e.g., they have better coping strategies),
but it takes its toll over time resulting in burnout when it finally manifests itself.

Findings also indicated that family support tended to mediate the effects of stress
and burnout in some instances, whereas administrative support rarely was as effec-
tive. Consistent with prior research (He et al., 2002), men who experienced family
support had reduced levels of stress; although, there was no significant relationship
between these variables for women. It must be noted that men were more likely to

be married than women in the current sample, which could account for this differ-
ence; 64% of the male officers reported they were married whereas only 36% of the
women were married. Family support, however, was significantly associated with
reduced burnout for both men and women. Intuitively, it makes sense that family
support helps mediate stress and burnout associated with job related demands.
Interestingly, however, administrative support was not significantly related to stress or
burnout for men or to stress for women. The bureaucratic nature of law enforcement
agencies may reduce the ability of single administrators to reduce stress among field
officers. Particular concerns of police bureaucracy include the impersonal nature of
the bureaucracy, distant chain of command, and lack of input into workplace rules
(He et al., 2002). Officers frequently believe that their patrol decisions lack support
by the departmental administration, which is compounded by the fact that many offi-
cers believe the public does not support their efforts (Kop & Euwema, 2001).

Perhaps the bureaucratic nature of the workplace makes it hard for administrators
to mediate stress, regardless of gender. In contrast, however, administrative support
may relate to burnout and help retain female officers in a hostile environment,
thereby reducing burnout. Police organizations nationally have had limited support
in increasing the number of women in the field (Garcia, 2003) and even when agen-
cies are able to recruit women, they often cannot retain them (Garcia, 2003;
Lonsway et al., 2002). Additionally, women are more apt than men to report that the
administration treats them differently based on their gender (Sousa & Gauthier,
2008). Although the current study cannot document the type of administrative sup-
port, it is logical to assume that when agencies refuse to tolerate sexist behavior in
the workplace, women perceive this behavior as administrative support, thereby
reducing burnout for women.

Gender spilt models also indicated some differences with regards to traditional
stressors in the literature (Anderson et al., 2002; Brooks & Piquero, 1998; Liberman
et al., 2002; Loo, 2004; Mashburn, 1993; Purpura, 2001). Men who were concerned
about knowing victims and offenders reported increased levels of stress. For women,
concern over making a violent arrest resulted in increased stress. For both men and
women, being the subject of investigations produced increased stress. Cleary, being
the subject of an internal investigation would be a stressful event for an officer given
the scrutiny given to officers under review and the potential for disciplinary action.
In particular, prior research demonstrates that officers believe that administrators
have unrealistic views of ways to manage problems in field situations, which sub-
jects patrol officers to undue scrutiny (He et al., 2002; Kop & Euwema, 2001). It is
less clear why knowing offenders and victims would produce stress for men. Perhaps
knowing people involved in committing or experiencing criminal acts/violations
makes it harder for male police officers to maintain hegemonic masculinity. They
may be more tempted to show a softer, caring (e.g., feminine) side when they know
the actors involved, and this may create both cognitive dissonance and stress when
male officers attempt to maintain a detached (e.g., masculine) persona.

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 231

It should not be totally surprising that confronting violent offenders produces
stress for female officers given the continued gender division of labor in law enforce-
ment. Gender-specific behavior in law enforcement frequently involves assigning
certain tasks to women. For example, women are frequently pulled from patrol
duties and forced to deal with incidents involving women or children (Brown, 1998).
Some existing research reports that women often are given less opportunities to con-
front physically violent offenders because of exclusion from certain assignments
(Sousa & Gauthier, 2008) and therefore may lack confidence when it comes to deal-
ing with these events. As such, this type of situation may produce more stress for
women who may be smaller in stature and who may have less experience dealing
with physical and/or violent individuals.

Only a few work factors similarly affected levels of burnout when controlling for
gender-related effects. For men, the emotional toll of making a violent arrest increased
the likelihood of burnout and it was the only work-related variable that was significant.
Here again, this finding may be linked to the hegemonic masculinity associated with
policing. Clearly, repeatedly dealing with violence has an impact on individuals.
Perhaps men suppress these feelings and therefore experience burnout at higher levels.
It is also possible that women actually deal with fewer violent incidents, in part
because of paternalistic practices that prevent women from having as much experience
dealing with violence, and therefore experience less burnout.

It is also possible that women deal with these experiences better because the
social construction of femininity allows them to be upset and/or vulnerable after
confronting violent incidents. It is also interesting that the fear of being the subject
of an investigation increases burnout for women but not for men. Given that this type
of experience is relatively rare for most officers, it makes sense that the fear of an
investigation produces stress but less often burnout. For women, however, they may,
in fact, experience increased scrutiny as the subject of investigations in a gendered
environment where men and women may not be treated similarly. This explanation
is supported by the finding that women with administrative support experienced sig-
nificantly less burnout; although, this relationship was not significant for men.
Women are already marginalized in police work environments (Dodge & Pogrebin,
2001; S. Martin, 1994). When faced with an investigation, women may receive lim-
ited support of their peers, making this stressor more significant for women officers.
Similarly, women who experience less administrative support may feel (and may in
fact be) more vulnerable, in general, which may result in burnout. As stated previ-
ously, prior research indicates that retention of female officers remains a problem,
and some scholars argue that this failure is related to sexual harassment and hostile
work environment issues (Lonsway et al., 2002). It has been demonstrated that
sexual harassment is a widespread problem in police department (Brown, 1998). In
C. Martin’s (1996) research, all but two women experienced sexual harassment on
the job. Sexual harassment is a particularly noteworthy problem in departments typ-
ically dominated by men (i.e., vice, gang units, etc.) and forces many women to

232 Feminist Criminology

transfer to “feminine” areas of policing to avoid mistreatment. For example, in
Brown’s (1998) research, 70% of the female officers experienced some type of direct
sexual harassment and nearly half reported this as a frequent problem. Thus, it
should not be surprising that there is a relationship between administrative support
and burnout for women, and it likely is related to the ways in which male officers,
in particular, maintain hegemonic masculinity in a highly gendered organization.

For men, the emotional toll of making a violent arrest increases the likelihood of
burnout and it is the only work-related variable that is significant. Results for women
indicate that the only work-related variable that is statistically significant involves
being the subject of an investigation. In fact, this variable is the second strongest in
the regression. The Z value for the investigation variable is statistically significant
indicating between group differences for men and women. This variable may be of
particular interest because women are already marginalized in police work environ-
ments (Dodge & Pogrebin, 2001; S. Martin, 1994). When faced with an investiga-
tion, women may receive limited support of their peers, making this stressor more
significant for women officers.

Gender dynamics also shape and aggravate stress among both male and female
officers, although in different ways. For male officers, both the presence of gender-
related jokes and the perception that the department is lenient toward women were
significantly associated with burnout but only the leniency variable was significant
for females. Gendered interactions also had direct and indirect effects on stress and
burnout. The gender-related variables directly increased stress for both men and
women, and stress, in turn, elevated the risk of burnout for both groups.

It is not surprising that male officers were most apt to believe that women were
treated more leniently. The perception that women are physically too weak to fulfill
job requirements is a recurring theme in police organization literature (Brown, 1998;
C. Martin, 1996; Segrave, 1995; Wadman & Allison, 2004). Prior research shows
that, for the most part, male officers viewed female officers as a liability, believing
they lack the physical size to contain violent offenders and create safety concerns in
patrol situations (Brown, 1998; C. Martin, 1996; S. Martin, 1980). It is also not sur-
prising that male officers who endorse this view are more likely to experience stress
and burnout if they think that they are being treated unfairly or that women are some-
how “getting by” without living up to departmental expectations. For male officers,
affirmative responses to the gender-perception variable support hegemonic mascu-
line beliefs by reinforcing the perception that women have failed to meet “mascu-
line” standards of the police role. Such beliefs facilitate police masculinity and
hegemonic masculinity by establishing policing as only appropriate for men and
thereby also increasing stress and burnout when these beliefs are challenged by the
presence of women in policing.

Interestingly, the leniency-perception variable had no affect on women’s reports
of stress or burnout. It seemed likely that women would experience increased stress
and burnout when male colleagues felt that they were treated differently; however,

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 233

the lack of significance may be related to their overwhelming rejection of the notion
that women are treated more leniently. The distribution of the leniency-perception
variable is markedly different according to respondents’ gender, with more than 50%
of males believing that the department treats women favorably compared with 8% of
the females who endorsed this belief. The stress and burnout level of women officers
also did not appear related to the gender-leniency variable in the current regression
models. Because the vast majority of women do not support the belief that the
department is more lenient on women, it is logical to conclude that this perception
would not influence their stress levels. Had the question asked directly about the per-
ception of their peers, the responses of women officers may have reflected a situa-
tional context more likely to result in increased stress and burnout levels for women.
In other words, if the question had asked whether or not their fellow officer’s beliefs
about leniency toward women impacted stress and burnout, the results may have
been different. Future research should attempt to disentangle this particular dynamic
for women officers.

Similarly, the data collection process did not unequivocally ask officers if their
work environment was hostile toward females; however, the question regarding gen-
der-related jokes gives some indication of how women were treated in the organiza-
tion. The perceptions that gender jokes are common varies strongly by sex category
and is directly associated with negative outcomes in many of the regression models.
The fact that women, especially White women, experienced gender-oriented jokes
on the job is similar to other reports that sexual harassment and maltreatment is com-
mon in police culture (Brown, 1998; C. Martin, 1996; Westmarland, 2001). Jokes
allow male officers to assert their masculinity and belittle female coworkers under
the protective guise of humor. If female officers are offended by these jokes, they
may be ridiculed for lacking a “sense of humor” and further marginalized by peers.
Macho officers use this type of interaction as additional evidence that women do not
belong in policing. Given the social arrangements that shape gender-oriented humor,
it is not surprising that this variable is associated with increased stress for women.

Although the question about gender jokes does not directly access the target of
gender jokes, both prior research and the current distribution of responses indicate
that women are the likely target of such jokes, which is likely associated with being
the target of sexually oriented and harassing behavior. As noted previously, sexual
harassment is believed to be widespread in policing. Westmarland (2001) further
argues that humor and satire are used as tools to deprofessionalize women officers
(p. 89). Even jokes that target male officers are likely demeaning toward women. For
example, a male officer calling another male a “pussy” or “bitch.”

It is somewhat surprising though that the gender jokes variable was not connected
with negative outcomes among female officers in the burnout model because links
between gender jokes and burnout for female officers is easily understandable. Work
environments wrought with crude and insensitive gender-oriented humor, theoreti-
cally, should increase burnout for targets of such humor; however, this phenomenon

234 Feminist Criminology

Kurtz / The Gendering of Stress and Burnout in Modern Policing 235

is not supported in these data. It is possible that women have learned to adjust to such
behavior or that such treatment does not translate into reported burnout levels.
Perhaps women who have burned out because of this behavior have already left the
department. Or, perhaps women come to expect this type of behavior in many/most
work environments, so it may cause stress, but it may not result in burnout. This find-
ing presents yet another area for further research.

It was also surprising to find that awareness of gendered jokes was linked to both
stress and burnout for men. Perhaps male officers experience stress and burnout as
a response to maltreatment of women in their department. It also is likely though
that these variables represent a proxy measure of sexist attitudes toward women and
that the very presence of female officers is linked to stress and burnout because
some men are unwilling or unable to simultaneously accept that women can be
police officers without compromising the masculinity of policing itself and the offi-
cers who do this work. The link between these variables and negative outcomes for
male officers speaks to the power of police masculinity. Attributes associated with
masculinity allow few acceptable outlets for stress and burnout. Police masculine
practices also exclude women because of beliefs about their emotional states.
Emotional control, a powerful gender display for males, is a masculine badge worn
when facing extremely stressful events. Men displaying emotional responses to
high-stress events risk the powerful stigma of weakness—the polar opposite of
police masculinity. Hypermasculine self-reliance manifested in the superman men-
tality sets up male officers for failure. By not dealing with stressful events as they
arise, these officers create the potential for devastating physical and psychological

Ironically, men in law enforcement face negative psychological and behavioral
problems because of their negative treatment of women; however, it must be noted
that the women in law enforcement face the daily, direct influence of hypermasculine
behavior in a highly gendered organization. Men insult women officers by implying
they receive favorable treatment. It is not that women have proved their merit in law
enforcement, it is that the standards have been lowered to accept the “less” capable
gender. Additionally, mild or not so mild, sexual harassment in police work environ-
ments appears in the form of gender-related jokes. This masculine practice directly
targets women officers, but it is also embedded in the gendered organization itself.

Results from these data provide a clear framework for future study. The types of
interactive and structural dynamic espoused by the theoretical orientation of this
research are not easily apparent through survey data. A more detailed qualitative
analysis is apt to uncover more nuanced aspects of the relationship between gender
and burnout. A clear limitation of this research relates to data. Although these data
lack strongly worded questions regarding the acceptance of women in law enforce-
ment, the variables of leniency and gender jokes provide some insight into the gen-
der dynamics of policing, as they relate to stress and burnout and offer preliminary
support for the theory that police stress and burnout is, in part, the result of gendered

236 Feminist Criminology

organizational structures and gendered interactions among officers. The current
findings offer a springboard for a more detailed analysis of police masculine behav-
ior and its corresponding relationship to stress and burnout.

Perhaps the most interesting contribution of these findings is the importance of
gender dynamics in law enforcement work environments, underscoring the need for
including gender influences in the analysis of stress and burnout among law enforce-
ment. Perception of leniency and the observation of gender-related humor in the
work place varied significantly according to the intersections of race and gender. The
responses to these gender related statements are not shocking given the gendered and
racialized nature of interactions in criminal justice organizations (Britton, 2003;
Dodge & Pogrebin, 2001; S. Martin, 1994); however, it is important to note that
these differences reflect group-based perceptions. The respondents work and live in
the same environment, but White males apparently do not experience the same
awareness as others in the department, reflecting what some refer to as White mas-
culine privilege (Barak et al., 2007). In essence, men and women officers reside in
the same environments, yet live and work in different worlds.


1. The ICPSR suggest the following citation format to be included in text as a footnote: Gershon,
Robyn. Police stress and domestic violence in police families in Baltimore, Maryland, 1997-1999
[Computer file]. ICPSR version. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI:
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000.

2. Each of these variables is indicative of the acceptance of women within the Baltimore Police
Department. An attempt to create indexes out of these variables was unsuccessful and latent trait factor
analysis indicated that they did not load on one or more factors. For this reason, these variables are
included as separate binary categories.

3. Initial versions of this research used two-step regression model with the gender variables included
in the second step. Including the gender variables in the second stage of both stress and burnout models
increases the R2, reduces standard error, and yields statistically significant F tests at greater than the
99.999% confidence level. These findings validate the inclusion of gender dynamics in regression mod-
els and indicate that regression models without them are misspecified.

4. Several techniques are used to explore for possible variable interaction. Interaction variables were
created to test for this effect and included in earlier models. According to Jaccard and Turrisi (2003),
interaction can be tested by multiplying the possible interacting variable and creating a new product vari-
able. The new variable is included in the model to test for significance. None of the interaction variables
created as the product gender (both male and female in different regressions) and the leniency and gen-
der joke variables resulted in significant t tests. Therefore, these product variables were excluded in the
final analysis.

5. For a detailed discussion of testing equality of regression coefficients see Paternoster, Brame,
Mazerolle, & Piquero, 1998; Brame, Paternoster, Mazerolle, & Piquero, 1998). Z values allow criminol-
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culate Z values in accordance with the unbiased formula presented by Paternoster et al. (1998). For ease
of interpretation, I report “yes” for Z tests reaching the value of statistical significance (1.96) and “no” for
nonsignificant values in gender spilt models for stress and burnout.


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Don L. Kurtz, PhD, is an assistant professor of social work and a criminologist in the Department of
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juvenile probation office.

238 Feminist Criminology

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