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Volume 9 Issue 2

Attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment among law enforcement officers.

Karaffa, K.M., & Tochkov, K.

Law enforcement officers are at increased risk for a variety of personal, emotional, and vocational issues but are often resistant to seeking help. In this study, we examined attitudes toward seeking mental health services in a sample of 158 sworn officers in Texas and identified some determinants of these attitudes. Results indicate that officers exhibited, on average, a neutral attitude toward seeking professional services. Officers' perception of other officers' willingness to seek services was positively correlated with attitude scores, while endorsement of the distrust of outsiders' norm was negatively correlated with attitude scores. Officers perceived their colleagues to be less willing to seek psychological help than themselves and generally indicated concern with pragmatic aspects of service utilization.

Plugged-in policing: Student perceptions of law enforcement's use of social media.

Spizman, R.J., & Miller, M.K.

As police become increasingly active in cyberspace, questions are raised as to how they should use social media. Community sentiment should be the foundation from which social media policy is forged. This exploratory mixed-methods study examined student attitudes toward law enforcement's use of social media and assessed demographic and attitudinal variables which were related to student perceptions. Overall, students significantly supported some social media scenarios more than others, and race, privacy expectations, and authoritarianism were related to student sentiment. From open-ended responses, prevalent themes emerged; for instance, students think police are only trying to do their jobs. Responses often also pointed out differences between private and public information and domains.

No halo effect for sex offenders: An examination of the effects of appearance and gender on the public's perception of sex offenders.

Austin, A. C., Plumm, K.M., Terrance, C.A., & Terrell, H.K.

The purpose of the current study was to investigate judgments made about a teacher being accused of criminal sexual contact with a student, where gender and attractiveness of the teacher are manipulated. We investigated whether attractiveness and gender of the alleged perpetrator impact mock juror assessment of length of sentence, length of time on the registry, likelihood of recidivism, conviction rating, victim blame and empathy. Participants (N = 180) were asked to read a vignette and respond to questionnaires. Our results suggest that attractiveness-driven halo effects are not ubiquitous, but rather interact with the gender of the perpetrator and if mock jurors believed the actions of the teacher was a sex offense. Participants who did not believe a sexual offense was committed did not convict the attractive male teacher, but they strongly convicted the attractive female teacher. There was no difference in conviction ratings across conditions for those who believed a sex offense occurred.

Conformity to traditional gender norms by male police officers exposed to trauma: Implications for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing.

Pasciak, A., & Kelley, T.

Following exposure to a potential traumatic event, many police officers are encouraged or required to participate in critical incident stress debriefing (CISD). CISD assumes trauma-exposed officers are willing and able to share painful emotions and memories with their peers, and to receive and provide emotional peer support. This study questions the use of CISD for male police officers whose tendency to conform to traditional gender norms appear to discourage these behaviors. It measures trauma exposure, conformity to traditional gender norms, and post-trauma behavior changes of 96 Midwestern male patrol officers. Findings supported the study's predictions that officers would report exposure to potential traumatic events tend to adhere to traditional gender norms and display posttrauma behaviors that would suggest the form of an alternative, strength-based, post-trauma intervention for male police officers.