An Analysis of Fitness, Stress and Job Performance: Concerns of Greensboro, North Carolina and Western New York Police Officers
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AuthorZapata, Anthony D.
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AbstractPolice Officers who have to handle stress daily, regardless of years on the force, should be in good physical condition to meet the psychological and physical stress challenges of police work. Police officers (N = 245) participated in the study. The officers consisted largely of male uniformed officers between the ages of 26-30. Data were collected using a seventy-one item police performance-fitness survey instrument and analyzed in relation to a Time on the Job (T.O.J.) variable for 1 ) 1 to 5; 2) 6 to 10; 3) 11 to 15; and 4) 15 + years on the job. The study included model fitness officers from Greensboro, N.C. and survey officers from Western New York (WNY). The questionnaire was developed to identify if physical fitness is of concern to the officers surveyed, if officers report physical fitness relates to their stress management and job performance, if model officers as compared to survey officers differ significantly in response to the survey questions and what the surveyed officers report their departments are doing for them in relation to physical fitness. The study lasted approximately two years. The level of statistical significance was set at (P < .05) for chi-square values. Ninety-three percent of the officers surveyed stated they wanted to be involved in fitness programs. Yet, only 2 % of the WNY officers reported that their departments require periodic fitness test or standards after graduation from the academy. These responses were statistically significant for all T.O.J. groups with the exception of the third group. Of the officers involved in fitness programs, 67% felt it improved their job performance. This was statistically insignificant (P > .05) for all comparisons. Final Communality estimates totals ranged between 3.50 and 3.96 showing that when sample questions from the survey were categorized according to stress, diet, department, personal fitness, fitness performance and health for factor analysis, overall, regardless of T.O.J ., there was little significant difference and that the model and survey groups were more alike than different in their responses to categorized questions. The study reveals that physical fitness is recognized by model and survey officers, but is not being promoted by Western New York Police Departments.