Date of Degree
Carl F. Wiedemann
The goal of this study was to identify and statistically examine the psychological determinants of risk-taking among law enforcement officers. This study was conceptualized and designed on a rather simple premise that risk-taking in one's leisure would have a dramatic and predominant influence on the grouping of subjects into definable personality trait categories. The suspicion regarding these categories was that subjects who engaged in risk-taking in their leisure time would be distinctively different from all other emerging groups, with regard to the 16 PF Cattell factors. It was also suspected that this leisure time risk-taking group's personality profile would be split between a well adjusted group, who would be high in the personality traits of control and independence; and a less well adjusted group, who would have a pathological or marginal personality trait profile.
In total, four hundred and fourteen (414) law enforcement officers' "Leisure Time Questionnaires" and "Cattell 16 PF Questionnaires" were analyzed. The subjects were from a total of one hundred and forty-five (145) different law enforcement agencies from thirty-three (33) different States in the United States.
The anonymous "Leisure Time Questionnaire" was designed to collect biographical information about the subjects and arranged the leisure time activities in alphabetical order, in an attempt to mask the risk-taking activities evaluation. The activities listed include all popular leisure-time activities that have been identified by the insurance industry, to which is attached an additional insurance premium. This questionnaire also included questions that evaluated occupational autonomy and discretion, and a fantasy leisure time question that elicited responses that were not dependent on the availability of free time or money.
The Cattell Sixteen Personality Factor questionnaire was also administered to this sample and provided scores in twenty-six (26) personality trait categories.
Although the original hypotheses of this study, were not largely supported, there were significant findings between the general population and law enforcement officers, within three (3) occupational law enforcement groups, and within six (6) law enforcement occupational/risk-taking groups; which are displayed in twenty (20) tables and nine (9) figures.
McCarthy, William F., "The Psychological Determinants of Occupational and Non-Occupational Risk-Taking Among Law Enforcement Officers" (1991). CUNY Academic Works.