Children of the badge: Occupational stress, family environment, and the psychological adjustment of teenage children of police officers

Carol Esposito, Pace University

Abstract

The present research is an exploration of occupational stress experienced by police officers and its relationship to perception of family environment and the psychosocial adjustment of their teenage children. Twenty-five male police officers from several police departments and twenty-five of their teenagers, ages 12 through 18, participated in this study. Police officers completed a General Information Questionnaire; the Maslach Burnout Inventory; the Family Environment Scale (Modified); the T-Anxiety scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Form Y; and a Personal Questionnaire. Their teenagers responded to a General Information Sheet; the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale; the Family Environment Scale (Modified); the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale; and an Interview Schedule.^ Using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, it was found that the lesser the degree of personal accomplishment of police officers, the lesser the degree of perceived family cohesion by their teenagers r(23) =.47, p $<$.01. A number of supplementary correlations were tested and significant relationships were found between variables such as police officers' level of trait anxiety and their teenagers' perception of family conflict; police officers' perception of family conflict and their teenagers' reported level of intelligence; and between the police officers' and their teenagers' perceptions of certain family environment variables.^ Using z-tests it was found that the teenagers of police officers scored significantly higher than the normative population on three of the Piers-Harris subscales, Behavior, Intelligence, and Popularity: z = 3.04, p $<$.01; z = 2.49, p $<$.05; and z = 2.09, p $<$.05, respectively. The police officers participating in the present research scored significantly greater than the normative population on the Depersonalization subscale of the Maslach Burnout Inventory, z = 3.51, p $<$.01. Qualitative data from the police officers and their teenagers gave strong evidence for the impact that the occupational stress experienced by police officers has on their family life and, specifically, on their teens. The results are discussed with respect to current and future research, as well as regarding the need for intervention programs for police officers and their families. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, General|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Carol Esposito, "Children of the badge: Occupational stress, family environment, and the psychological adjustment of teenage children of police officers" (January 1, 1989). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9011661.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI9011661

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