Coping isn't for the Faint of Heart: An Investigation into the Development of Coping Strategies for Incoming Police Recruits

dc.contributor.authorClifton, Stacey Anne Mooreen
dc.contributor.committeechairHawdon, James E.en
dc.contributor.committeememberRyan, John W.en
dc.contributor.committeememberPeguero, Anthony A.en
dc.contributor.committeememberPrakash, B. Adityaen
dc.description.abstractPolicing in America has lost more officers to suicides than line of duty deaths over the past four years. As the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, the well-being of officers is critical as unhealthy police using poor coping strategies to handle their stress can lead to a multitude of negative consequences for the communities they serve, their departments, their fellow officers, and themselves. While the technology of policing is quickly advancing, the routine duties of officers remain stressful. This stress requires officers to use effective coping strategies to deal with it, but the traditional subculture of policing promotes maladaptive, rather than adaptive, coping strategies. To understand how the subculture influences police and the coping strategies they use, research must understand the socialization process of recruits entering the job. The current research seeks to understand how police recruits are socialized into the police subculture and how this affects the coping strategies they use to deal with the stressors they will confront on the job. The research analyzes how the network position of recruits influences their adoption of the police subculture and how this, in turn, affects their development of coping strategies. Recruits were surveyed three times during their academy training to examine the transitioning and socialization that occurs throughout the police academy. Results reveal that networks affect the adoption of the police subculture by recruits and this socialization process impacts the development of coping strategies by recruits. Findings highlight the need for future work to continue the longitudinal research approach to examine how the networks change once recruits complete their field training and probationary period.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralPolice officers are engaged in an occupation that induces a vast amount of stress, leading to burnout and poor coping strategies. Blue H.E.L.P. began tracking the suicide rates of law enforcement and found that officers are dying more often by their own hands than in line of duty deaths. We have also seen growing tensions between police and communities, further leading to lower retention rates of current officers. The current study seeks to understand how police recruits are trained to endure the stress of their occupation. Policing is comprised of a unique occupational culture that creates solidarity among its members, which can influence how officers learn to utilize coping mechanisms. The current research examines how new police recruits fit into this occupational culture and how this affects their coping strategies over time. Results show that how new recruits are socialized into the occupational culture matter in terms of how they learn to cope with their job. Understanding how new recruits are taught to cope is imperative to destigmatize the notion of well-being to train healthier officers and to potentially lower suicide rates among our nation's law enforcement.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectPolice Subcultureen
dc.subjectSocial Network Analysisen
dc.titleCoping isn't for the Faint of Heart: An Investigation into the Development of Coping Strategies for Incoming Police Recruitsen
dc.typeDissertationen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Philosophyen


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