Occupational stress, ill health and organisational commitment of members of the South African police service in the North West Province
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The aims of this study were to analyse the occupational stress experienced by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) stationed at the Local Criminal and Record Centre (LCRC), to assess the relationship between occupational stress and ill health, and to determine whether individual and organisational commitment moderate the effects of occupational stress on ill health. A survey design was used to achieve the research objectives utilising an availability non-randomised sample (N=111). An Organisational Stress Screening Tool (ASSET) and a biographical questionnaire were used as measuring instruments. The results indicated that occupational stress provided an explanation in 19 percent of the cases of variance in psychological ill health and in 17 percent of the cases of variance in physical ill health. Control as a stressor was a statistically significant predictor of both physical and psychological ill health. Job overload also statistically significantly predicted psychological ill health. Occupational stress explained 17 percent of the variance in individual commitment to the organisation and 16 percent of the variance in organisational commitment to the individual. Stress resulting from resource problems and work-life balance predicted both individual commitment to the organisation and perceived commitment of the organisation to the individual negatively at a statistically significant level. Stressful job characteristics also predicted individual commitment to the organisation negatively at a statistically significant level. It was found that individual commitment to the organisation moderated the effects of work relations on ill health. One of the limitations of this study is the possibility of the "common method variance" which could, in turn, lead to an overestimation of the correlations studied. The sample size and sampling method, where only LCRC members in North West Province were included in the sample, could also be viewed as a limitation. It is recommended that addressing the needs of LCRC members will ultimately improve their sense of commitment to the organisation. Furthermore, interventions should be implemented to prevent and reduce stress and to initiate coping mechanisms for LCRC members. Improved recovery strategies would also ensure that LCRC members recuperate effectively from trauma and stress.