Models for Aggression by Police Officers towards Romantic Partners and Police Partners

S. Hakan Can, Helen M. Hendy, Meaghan Imbody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Past research documents that occupational challenges faced by police officers may increase the risk of aggression toward romantic partners, but little research is available on aggression by police officers in another close relationship, that occurring within the ‘fraternal order’, toward their police partners. The purpose of the present study was to enhance understanding of police aggression in close relationships by comparing ‘models' of aggression suggested by Social Learning Theory, including powerful others or peers from the ‘home family’ (father, mother, siblings) and from the ‘police family’ (police supervisor, police partner). Participants included 120 police officers (95 per cent male; mean age = 38.9 years; 90 per cent Caucasian) who completed anonymous questionnaires to report aggression in each relationship using the 12-item Revised Conflict Tactics Scale. Multiple regression revealed that the set of ‘home family’ and ‘police family’ models of aggression explained 35.5 per cent of the variance in romantic partner aggression and 59.1 per cent of the variance in police partner aggression reported by officers, with aggression from the father and the police supervisor being the most significant models of aggression. Results suggest that in terms of aggression used as a conflict resolution strategy in close relationships, police officers experience less of a ‘fraternal order’ than a ‘paternal order’, with ‘father-figure’ individuals serving as the most significant models. Employee Assistance Programmes to encourage ‘PEACE IN THE FAMILY’ for police may require participation by police supervisors, who must also work to model non-aggressive means of conflict resolution within their departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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