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Characterizing the resilient officer : individual attributes at point of entry to policing
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Karena BurkeKarena Burke, J Shakespeare-Finch, D Paton, M Ryan
Research investigating the process of adaptation in newly recruited police officers is scarce and has yielded mixed results. Some research highlights the incidence of difficulty in adjusting to the role of police officer such as predictors of elevated stress and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others have investigated why the majority of officers are resilient to the work and organizational challenges presented. This article examines personality, prior experience, and coping strategies of 94 newly recruited Australian police officers. The data provide a picture of police personnel who are not selected with personality profiling. Results demonstrated that the officers’ personality profiles, as measured by the NEO Five-Factor Inventory, were consistent with U.S. adult norms, except for elevated levels of extraversion. Common coping strategies include positive reinterpretation, acceptance, and planning. Measures of PTSD and positive posttrauma changes were higher in recruits who had endured a traumatic incident prior to joining the service compared to recruits who had endured stressful, rather than traumatic, events. Results provide a foundation for the longitudinal exploration of adjustment processes in police recruits.