Police stress and race: using general strain theory to examine racial differences in police misconduct

Stephen A. Bishopp, Nicole Leeper Piquero, Alex R. Piquero, John L. Worrall, Jessica Rosenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


A large body of research demonstrates the toll stress takes on police. However, with recent high-profile force incidents that have fueled distrust of police especially within minority communities, there is reason to expect that minority officers experience stress differently than their white counterparts. Within the context of Agnew’s (1992) General Strain Theory, this study examines the relationship between police stress and misconduct. As well, since a police stress/anger relationship has been found, we also analyze racial differences in the extent to which negative affect (anger) mediates the stress/outcome relationship. Using data from a survey of over 1,400 police officers working in three large cities in Texas, we find that stress is significantly related to officers’ acts of misconduct within both races. Moreover, there are noticeable differences in the role anger plays in the stress/misconduct relationship among white and minority officers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1811-1838
Number of pages28
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Issue number13-14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • general strain
  • misconduct
  • police stress
  • race

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