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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


COSTA, Marcos; ACCIOLY JUNIOR, Horácio; OLIVEIRA, José  and  MAIA, Eulália. Stress: diagnosis of military police personnel in a Brazilian city. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.4, pp.217-222. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To diagnose the occurrence and stage of stress among military police enlisted personnel and officers in the city of Natal (the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil), and to determine the prevalence of physical and mental symptoms. METHOD: This cross-sectional descriptive study investigated a sample of 264 individuals from a population of 3 193 military personnel from the Natal police command. The data were collected between June 2004 and January 2005 using Lipp's Adult Stress Symptoms Inventory (Inventário de Sintomas de Stress para Adultos de Lipp). The research assessed: (1) presence of stress, (2) the stage of stress (alert, resistance, near-burnout, and burnout), (3) the prevalence of physical and mental symptoms, and (4) the relationship between stress and police unit, rank, gender, drinking, smoking, educational level, marital status, age, years of police service, and salary. RESULTS: No stress symptoms were found in 52.6% of the sample; 47.4% had symptoms. Of the 47.4% of the police personnel with stress symptoms, they were distributed as: 3.4% in the alert stage, 39.8% in the resistance stage, 3.8% in the near-burnout stage, and 0.4% in the burnout stage. Psychological symptoms were recorded in 76.0% of the police personnel with stress, and physical symptoms in 24.0% of them. Of the variables investigated, only gender was related to stress (P = 0.0337), with the female police personnel being more likely to suffer from stress. CONCLUSIONS: The levels of stress and symptoms do not indicate a critical situation of fatigue. However, it is recommended that the police take preventive actions, including implementing an effective program for the diagnosis of, training on, and control of stress.

Keywords : Stress; police; mental health; Brazil.

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