Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Sociology (Criminology Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

James Burfeind

Commitee Members

Daisy Rooks, Joel Iverson


probation, Bakken, boomtowns, job stress, emotional labor


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Criminology | Rural Sociology | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations


Job stress has been linked to several negative outcomes for workers in human service professions. Despite a wealth of knowledge on job stress in social service occupations, relatively little is known about the job stress of probation officers. In eastern Montana and western North Dakota’s Bakken region, a recent oil extraction boom and bust cycle has caused rapid socio-demographic change. Researchers have found that oil extraction in the Bakken region has led to several challenges for social service and police agencies in the area. In this study, I use qualitative interview methods to examine the stresses and challenges involved in probation work on the Bakken. How do probation officers working on the Bakken perceive and respond to job stress? How does emotional labor influence the workplace experiences of these officers? The findings of this study indicate that rapid socio-demographic change in the Bakken region has created several unique challenges for probation officers in the area. Additionally, probation officers working in the Bakken face an array of structural and personal job stressors on a daily basis. Despite these active stressors, the officers in my sample do not experience burnout or turnover intention, and instead have positive emotions about their jobs. Specifically, probation officers in my sample utilize self-oriented emotional labor techniques to cope with job stress and manage their emotions about their work.



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