Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley

Second Advisor

Frederick A. Kosinski, Jr.

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Abstract

Problem. Past research provides information on stress and its relationship to the law enforcement officer's coping mechanisms. However, there is no research on how the element of moral reasoning relates within the conceptual framework of Police stress and coping. This present study investigated the relationship between police stress and moral reasoning, coping mechanisms, and selected demographic variables among police officers.

Method. The subjects for this study were 71 full-time certified law enforcement officers in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties of Michigan. A brief demographic questionnaire was utilized, followed by the Police Stress Survey (PSS), the Defining Issues Test (DIT), and the Coping Response inventory (CRI). Pearson r , Spearman Rho, and ANOVA with post hoc tests analyses were used to analyze the relationship of police stress to moral reasoning, coping mechanisms, age, years of law enforcement experience, years of education, religious affiliation, frequency of church attendance, and community environment in which the officer serves.

Results. The present study found that 88% of police subjects considered police stress (administrative/organizational pressure and physical/psychological threats) moderately stressful. The present study also found no significant correlation between police stress and moral reasoning, coping, mechanisms (problem-focused and emotion-focused coping), age, years of law enforcement experience, years of education, religious affiliation, frequency of church attendance, and the community environment in which the officer serves.

Conclusions. According to this study, it appears that police stress may not be associated with postconventional thinking, coping mechanisms, age, years of law enforcement experience, years of education, religious affiliation, frequency of church attendance, and type of environment in which the officer serves for law enforcement officers within the Tri-County area. More empirical research is needed to clarify the relationship between police stress, moral reasoning, and coping.

Subject Area

Police--Michigan, Southwestern--Job stress, Police psychology--Michigan, Southwestern, Police--Michigan, Southwestern--Attitudes

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