Do law enforcement officers experience personality trait changes over the course of their careers? In Challacombe, Ackerman, and Stones (in press), the researchers found US-based officers had personality differences based on their lengths of service and career stress levels. The current study explores this topic by using a grounded theory approach to better understand these changes over the course of the officer’s career. We are analyzing data collected from an anonymous survey offered to sworn law enforcement officers across the United States. Initial interviewing included open ended questions that explored the participants’ experience and concerns. These individual interviews are compared and coded to identify focused categories for subsequent interviews. Theoretical sampling is being used to conduct further interviews until saturation was reached around our grounded theory categories. Officers are reporting changes in communication styles, increases in cynicism, general mistrust, and increased hypervigilance. Possible protective factors may include mastery and increased confidence as well as positive relationships within their department. The results of the study to date will be provided along with suggestions for future research.
Carpenter, Jessica and Challacombe, Darin, "Understanding Personality Changes in Law Enforcement Officers" (2020). 2020 SACAD Entrants. 12.