Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Psychological Capital: Law Enforcement Leadership Strategies to Mitigate Traumatic Incident Stress Among Police Officers
by Murray, Eric, Ed.D., University of Hartford, 2019, 265; 13812703
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to examine what law enforcement leaders report regarding the strategies they used to develop police officer psychological capital (PsyCap) during the pre-traumatic, peri-traumatic, and post-traumatic period of a traumatic incident. Luthans’ (2007) PsyCap model consisting of the four domains of hope, efficacy, resiliency, and optimism was used as the study’s conceptual framework.

The researcher used a qualitative interview case study design and gathered reports from law enforcement leader’s strategies and best practices to build PsyCap and mitigate traumatic incident stress. Data from fourteen leaders from various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were gathered using an interview guide developed by the investigator.

Results showed that law enforcement organizations often do not conduct adequate training to teach law enforcement leaders how to effectively manage police officers who have experienced a traumatic incident. However, when organizations adopt policies and train their leaders in critical incident stress management, these supports help to mitigate the negative impact of traumatic incident stress. In particular, the following leadership strategies were shown to be most effective at managing traumatic incident stress: goal setting and contingency planning; critical thinking, knowledge, motivation, and confidence building; and strategies designed to evaluate, assess, and build resiliency and optimism. Furthermore, this study strongly suggests that law enforcement organizations that adopt pre, peri, and post- traumatic best practice strategies to develop psychological capital helped mitigate traumatic incident stress among police officers.

Recommendations for practice are provided and include: consideration of a proactive, multi-tiered training program focused on enhancing officer and leader strategies to build psychological capital; deploying individual and/or organizational surveys to provide feedback on the effectiveness of existing traumatic incident management policies and practices; and creating a culture to mitigate negative stigma associated with officers who may hesitate to seek help after experiencing a traumatic incident. Future research should focus on examining leader strategy effectiveness and best practices to build psychological capital from the officer’s perspective.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weinholtz, Donn
Commitee: Dichiara, Albert, Myers, Kimberly
School: University of Hartford
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Law enforcement, Mental health, Educational leadership, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Law enforcement leadership, Leadership strategies, Police officers, Police stress, Psychological capital, Traumatic incident stress
Publication Number: 13812703
ISBN: 9781392260166
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