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Work and Family Services for Law Enforcement Personnel in the United States, 1995 (ICPSR 2696) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was undertaken to provide current information on work and family issues from the police officer's perspective, and to explore the existence and prevalence of work and family training and intervention programs offered nationally by law enforcement agencies. Three different surveys were employed to collect data for this study. First, a pilot study was conducted in which a questionnaire, designed to elicit information on work and family issues in law enforcement, was distributed to 1,800 law enforcement officers representing 21 municipal, suburban, and rural police agencies in western New York State (Part 1). Demographic information in this Work and Family Issues in Law Enforcement (WFILE) questionnaire included the age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, highest level of education, and number of years in law enforcement of each respondent. Respondents also provided information on which agency they were from, their job title, and the number of children and step-children they had. The remaining items on the WFILE questionnaire fell into one of the following categories: (1) work and family orientation, (2) work and family issues, (3) job's influence on spouse/significant other, (4) support by spouse/significant other, (5) influence of parental role on the job, (6) job's influence on relationship with children, (7) job's influence on relationships and friendships, (8) knowledge of programs to assist with work and family issues, (9) willingness to use programs to assist with work and family issues, (10) department's ability to assist officers with work and family issues, and (11) relationship with officer's partner. Second, a Police Officer Questionnaire (POQ) was developed based on the results obtained from the pilot study. The POQ was sent to over 4,400 officers in police agencies in three geographical locations: the Northeast (New York City, New York, and surrounding areas), the Midwest (Minneapolis, Minnesota, and surrounding areas), and the Southwest (Dallas, Texas, and surrounding areas) (Part 2). Respondents were asked questions measuring their health, exercise, alcohol and tobacco use, overall job stress, and the number of health-related stress symptoms experienced within the last month. Other questions from the POQ addressed issues of concern to the Police Research and Education Project -- a sister organization of the National Association of Police Organizations -- and its membership. These questions dealt with collective bargaining, the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights, residency requirements, and high-speed pursuit policies and procedures. Demographic variables included gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, highest level of education, and number of years employed in law enforcement. Third, to identify the extent and nature of services that law enforcement agencies provided for officers and their family members, an Agency Questionnaire (AQ) was developed (Part 3). The AQ survey was developed based on information collected from previous research efforts, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Part W-Family Support, subsection 2303 [b]), and from information gained from the POQ. Data collected from the AQ consisted of whether the agency had a mission statement, provided any type of mental health service, and had a formalized psychological services unit. Respondents also provided information on the number of sworn officers in their agency and the gender of the officers. The remaining questions requested information on service providers, types of services provided, agencies' obstacles to use of services, agencies' enhancement of services, and the organizational impact of the services.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Work and Family Issues in Law Enforcement Questionnaire Data - Download All Files (4,649 KB)
DS2:  Police Officer Questionnaire Data - Download All Files (7,279 KB)
DS3:  Agency Questionnaire Data - Download All Files (3,126 KB)

Study Description

Citation

Delprino, Robert, Karen O'Quin, and Cheryl Kennedy. WORK AND FAMILY SERVICES FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL IN THE UNITED STATES, 1995. ICPSR version. Buffalo, NY: Buffalo State College/Washington, DC: National Association of Police Organizations, Police Research and Education Project [producers], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. doi:10.3886/ICPSR02696.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-IJ-CX-0113)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   demographic characteristics, family counseling, family relations, family work relationship, intervention, job satisfaction, job stress, law enforcement agencies, police officers, police training

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1995

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Parts 1 and 2: Police officers. Part 3: Law enforcement agencies.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   In the past 20 years, many articles, books, and manuals have been published on police stress. The literature has noted that the stressful nature of police work, along with other occupational demands, can have a great impact on the family life of police officers. The literature has further noted that the family suffers vicariously as a result of the stress that the officer directly experiences while on the job, can be a critical support system for the officer, and can provide stability, which may be a valid predictor of success in police work. Previous empirical data, however, have been minimal, dated, and usually not generalizable to the current state of the police family. The work environment of law enforcement officers has changed greatly due in part to escalating crime rates, greater restrictions placed on how officers perform their jobs, and the introduction of new technology. Over the last 20 years, the structure and function of the family have also evolved as a result of changing demographics of the work force, as well as changing attitudes and values among workers. Obtaining current information about stressors experienced by officers and their family members, the officers' perceived needs, and potential willingness to use programs offered to officers and their families is useful to ensure that the appropriate agencies can develop effective, family-friendly policies, as well as programs that are focused, cost-effective, and address officers' and family members' needs. The objectives of this study were to provide current information on work and family issues from the police officer's perspective, and to explore the existence and prevalence of work and family training and intervention programs currently offered nationally by law enforcement agencies.

Study Design:   Three different surveys were used to collect data for this study. First, a pilot study was conducted in which a questionnaire, designed to study work and family issues in law enforcement, was distributed to 1,800 law enforcement officers representing 21 municipal, suburban, and rural police agencies in western New York State (Part 1). The Work and Family Issues in Law Enforcement Questionnaire (WFILE), containing 178 items, was developed in two steps: first, a review of pertinent literature was undertaken, and then structured telephone interviews with eight law enforcement officers and 13 mental health professionals who had worked with officers and their families were conducted. The telephone interviews were designed to ascertain the primary concerns and issues of police officers with regard to work and family. Responses obtained from the interviews were subjected to content analysis and used in the development of the WFILE. Surveys were delivered by the Erie County Department of Central Police Services to each police agency. The chiefs of each agency were requested to distribute the survey to their officers. Each officer received a cover letter eliciting his or her support, a copy of the questionnaire, and a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. Central Police Services assisted in the collection of the completed surveys. Officers were asked to return their completed questionnaires to the Erie County Employee Assistance Program. Usable questionnaires were returned by 597 law enforcement officers. In addition to providing information on work and family issues for the law enforcement community in western New York, the primary goal of the pilot study was to provide data that would be used to develop a questionnaire to be distributed to a larger sample of law enforcement agencies. The second survey in this data collection, the Police Officer Questionnaire (POQ), was developed based on the results of the WFILE. The 148-item questionnaire was sent to the homes of over 4,400 officers in police agencies in three geographical locations: the Northeast (New York City, New York, and surrounding areas), the Midwest (Minneapolis, Minnesota, and surrounding areas), and the Southwest (Dallas, Texas, and surrounding areas) (Part 2). Within each metropolitan agency, department personnel randomly selected officers to participate in the project. Two identical sets of mailing labels were produced by each department or union to allow for two mailings of the survey instrument to the same sample over a three-week period. For both mailings, each area was provided with sealed envelopes containing a survey instrument, a business reply envelope, and a cover letter signed by union representatives and/or the department's police commissioner. For the reminder mailing, a different cover letter was used. Officers returned completed surveys to researchers at Buffalo State College. Responses were received from 1,632 officers representing 51 agencies. Third, to identify the extent and nature of services that law enforcement agencies provided for officers and their family members, the Agency Questionnaire (AQ) was administered (Part 3). The AQ survey was developed based on information collected from previous research efforts, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Part W-Family Support, subsection 2303 [b]), and from information gained from the POQ. The AQ, with 82 items, was sent to 587 state, municipal, suburban, and rural police agencies throughout the United States. A survey, cover letter, and business reply envelope were sent to each agency in the sample. The cover letter was addressed to the chief of the agency. The envelope, however, was addressed with the name of the head of each agency. Three weeks after the first mailing, a second mailing was carried out. The second mailing was sent only to nonrespondents. Completed surveys were returned to researchers at Buffalo State College. Data were received from 380 agencies representing 48 state agencies, 166 agencies serving populations of 25,000 to 49,999, 84 agencies serving populations of 50,000 to 99,999, and 82 agencies serving populations over 100,000. Prior to sending the survey to the agencies, each survey was coded with a 5-digit identification number for the purpose of identifying nonrespondents. The first three digits of the code represented a specific identification number assigned to each agency. The fourth digit of the code identified the strata in which the agency was grouped (i.e., 25,000-49,999, or 100,000 or more). The last digit indicated first or second mailing of the survey.

Sample:   Parts 1 and 2: Exact sampling unknown. Part 3: Stratified random sampling.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Demographic information in the Work and Family Issues in Law Enforcement (WFILE) questionnaire included the age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, highest level of education, and number of years in law enforcement of each respondent. Respondents also provided information on which agency they were from, their job title, and the number of children and step-children they had. The remaining items on the WFILE questionnaire fell into one of the following categories: (1) work and family orientation, (2) work and family issues, (3) job's influence on spouse/significant other, (4) support by spouse/significant other, (5) influence of parental role on the job, (6) job's influence on relationship with children, (7) job's influence on relationships and friendships, (8) knowledge of programs to assist with work and family issues, (9) willingness to use programs to assist with work and family issues, (10) department's ability to assist officers with work and family issues, and (11) relationship with officer's partner. Variables in Part 2 measured respondents' health, exercise, alcohol and tobacco use, overall job stress, and the number of health-related stress symptoms experienced within the last month. Other questions addressed issues of concern to the Police Research and Education Project -- a sister organization of the National Association of Police Organizations -- and its membership. These questions dealt with collective bargaining, the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights, residency requirements, and high-speed pursuit policies and procedures. Demographic variables included gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, highest level of education, and number of years employed in law enforcement. Data collected for Part 3 consisted of whether the agency had a mission statement, provided any type of mental health service, and had a formalized psychological services unit. Respondents also provided information on the number of sworn officers in their agency and the gender of the officers. The remaining questions requested information on service providers, types of services provided, agencies' obstacles to use of services, agencies' enhancement of services, and the organizational impact of the services.

Response Rates:   The response rate for the Part 1 was 33.2 percent. The response rate for the Part 2 was 36.43 percent. The response rate for Part 3 was 65 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used in all three surveys.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB2696.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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