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Examining police officers’ perceptions of stress: the role of Person−environment fit

Rachael Rief (University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)
Samantha Clinkinbeard (University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 12 July 2021

Issue publication date: 22 October 2021




The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between officer perceptions of fit in their organization and stress (organizational and operational), overall job satisfaction and turnover contemplation (within the last 6 months).


The authors used cross-sectional survey data from a sample of 832 officers from two Midwest police departments to examine the relationships between fit, stress and work-related attitudes.


Perceived stress and organizational fit were strong predictors of overall job satisfaction and turnover contemplation; organizational fit accounted for the most variation in stress, satisfaction and turnover contemplation. Organizational stress partially mediated the relationship between organizational fit and job satisfaction and organizational fit and turnover contemplation.

Research Implications

More research is needed to identify predictors of organizational fit perceptions among police officers.

Practical implications

Findings indicate that agencies should pay close attention to the organizational culture and structure when trying to address issues of officer well-being and retention. Further, the person−environment framework can be a useful tool in examining police occupational outcomes.


The authors findings contribute to research on officer stress by exploring perceptions of organizational fit as a predictor of stress and unpacking how officer stress matters to important work outcomes, including job satisfaction and thoughts of turnover, by considering stress as a mediator between organizational fit and these work outcomes.



Funding: This work was supported by an Urban Research Grant from the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.


Rief, R. and Clinkinbeard, S. (2021), "Examining police officers’ perceptions of stress: the role of Person−environment fit", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 985-998.



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