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Social identity patterns in the police : attitudinal and performance implications

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Police -- Attitudes.
  • Police Psychology.


The present research examined the social identity pattern of a sample of urban police officers by making a direct assessment of the officers' relative degree of alienation from other police officers, police managers, and several community groups. Results from two questionnaires showed that police peers were a clearly defined ingroup, and that social nearness to community groups was determined both on the basis of race and social class. In spite of significant between group differences, those officers closest to their peers were also socially nearest to the community groups. This finding, in conjunction with unremarkable levels of authoritarianism and stress in the sample, tend to refute the ethnocentric and stressed stereotype of police officers. The second questionnaire also elicited attitudes and behavioral intentions in response to police situation vignettes. Results showed the officers were most satisfied, and perceived most support from the public, when acting in a crime fighting capacity.

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