Episode 150 – Workplace Stress Article

Workplace Stress Article

Workplace Stress Article

Glenn Langenburg and Eric Ray read through a new paper (Human Factors Effecting Forensic Decision Making: Workplace Stress and Well-being) from Amy Jeanguenat and Itiel Dror on how workplace stress can affect forensic decision making. The paper makes several great points about how forensic scientists deal with many stresses unique to their careers, including facing outside criticism and working in a culture with zero tolerance for errors.

“So then the paper goes on about the unique, industry-specific pressures that are placed on forensic scientists and managers. I really did find these to be actually very accurate and pretty insightful. I’m going to go down the list and I’ll define them and we can talk about them.

The first is technique criticism. Essentially, there are these groups that are coming out like NAS and PCAST that are critically examining the entire field they look at what we do. They all have armchair quarterback status and all have a view on what we do and of course it tends to be highly critical. So they call it technique criticism. But I think of it as external criticism. The second one is just exposure to case details. We work these very violent and sometimes disturbing cases. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to process evidence where you become knowledgeable of details that you wish you had not become intimately familiar with. They can have an effect. I worked crime scenes for a number of years and those things stick with you. Exposures of violent and horrible, terrible things can have a long-lasting effect and cause stress.”

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