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Work demographics and officers’ perceptions of the work environment which add to the prediction of at risk alcohol consumption within an Australian police sample

Jeremy D. Davey (School of Psychology and Counselling, University of Technology, Queensland, Australia)
Patricia L. Obst (School of Psychology and Counselling, University of Technology, Queensland, Australia)
Mary C. Sheehan (School of Psychology and Counselling, University of Technology, Queensland, Australia)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 1 March 2000

Abstract

This study examined aspects of the work environment, which may impact on individual police officers’ risk of harm from alcohol consumption. A self report survey containing demographic questions, the AUDIT and questions relating to perceived control over the job, overtime, pressure, boredom and job satisfaction was completed by 67 per cent of officers in an Australian state police service. The results of the current study indicate that gender, age and marital status, are individual risk factors for problem drinking, as has been shown in previous research. Within the policing context, years of service, job satisfaction, perceived control within the job and being an operational officer, also emerged as significant predictors of at risk alcohol consumption patterns. Findings further suggest that there is a strong norm of drinking at work or after a shift, which suggests a culture of acceptance of drinking within the workplace. This acceptance is strongly predictive of both risk of alcohol dependency and negative consequences from drinking within the police service. This study suggests directions for future research, which may lead to the introduction of informed interventions within the police service that could reduce officers’ risk of harm from alcohol consumption.

Keywords

Citation

Davey, J.D., Obst, P.L. and Sheehan, M.C. (2000), "Work demographics and officers’ perceptions of the work environment which add to the prediction of at risk alcohol consumption within an Australian police sample", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 69-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/13639510010314625

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