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When the going gets tough: A moderated mediated model of injury, job-related risks, stress, and police performance

Lorena R. Perez-Floriano (Department of Economics and Business, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile and Department of Social Studies, Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico)
Jorge A. Gonzalez (Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 22 March 2019

Issue publication date: 9 September 2019




Integrating the transactional model of stress with risk analysis perspectives and death awareness theory, this paper aims to explore how job-related risks and the experience of a critical job injury influence work stress and withdrawal intentions for workers in dangerous occupations, as well as the relationship between stress and job performance.


The study relies on survey and archival data from Mexican police officers, taking into account the occupational and national context.


The results showed differences between officers who had or had not been injured in the line of duty and a complex stress-performance relationship for the former group. Officers who had been injured reported higher job-related risks and work stress. Also, for them, work stress had a direct, positive relationship with job performance, as well as an indirect, negative relationship with such outcome through work withdrawal intentions.

Research limitations/implications

The uniqueness of the setting may present problems with generalisability, but the study provides a rich contextual description to guide scholars and practitioners. The complex work stress – job performance relationship implies that managers can assess and use workers’ construction of danger and risk to improve their work performance, but that they should be mindful of potential adverse repercussions on work withdrawal.


The study informs the transactional model of stress and the monolithic model of police culture, affirms the role of perception of resources to manage risk and stress in dangerous occupations, introduces the role of mortality cues in shaping risk perceptions and points to the benefits of performance metrics in risk and work stress research.



Perez-Floriano, L.R. and Gonzalez, J.A. (2019), "When the going gets tough: A moderated mediated model of injury, job-related risks, stress, and police performance", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 1239-1255.



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