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Title: The role of reversal theory in moderating occupational stress in British police officers, special constables and civilian support staff.
Author: Grover, Jennifer J.
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 1999
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The causes and consequences of police stress has received considerable research interest. Reversal theory postulates some individuals may inherently require higher (Le. paratelic) arousal levels, compared with those seeking lower (Le. telic) arousal levels. This present study investigated: (i) psychological problems experienced between British police officers, special (voluntary) police and civilian support staff; (ii) telic and paratelic dominance; (iii) use of humour; (iv) dimensions of police humour; and (v) predictors of police psychological problems, telic dominance and humour use. A mixed, cross-sectional survey design was employed. Questionnaires were sent to all police officers, support staff and specials (N = 373) within one division of a provincial police service. Participants completed the following measures: (i) Coping Humour Scale (CHS); (ii) Multi-dimensional Sense of Humour Scale (MSHS); (iii) Telic Dominance Scale (TDS); and (v) Employee Assistance Program Inventory (EAPI). Questionnaires were returned from 191 participants (51% response rate). For overall CHS and MSHS scores, no significant differences between groups were found; although police gender differences were significant. MSHS police dimensions deviated from previous samples. Overall TDS scores were significantly higher for specials. For all three groups, EAPI subscale scores were normative, but with significantly higher substance use reported by police. Police EAPI scores were generally significantly higher, indicative of greater psychological difficulties. Predictors of police psychological problems, TDS, CHS and MSHS scores are reported. These results suggest that police may have a paratelic dominance, in which humour provides a valuable and adaptive mechanism for pOlice stress. Clinical implications are discussed in light of these results
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: DClinPsychol thesis Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Humour; Personality; Psychological distress Psychology Industrial hygiene Medicine, Industrial