Date of Award

Spring 6-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Diana Falkenbach

Second Reader

Daniel Rosengart

Third Advisor

Charles Stone

Abstract

It’s estimated that psychopathic personalities constitute about 1% of the general population but is seen at elevated rates in particularly stressful and harsh environments (Babiak & Hare, 2006; Hare, 1996). A career in law enforcement is one known to be uniquely stressful (Lucas et al., 2012), and the trauma from their career seems to be having an impact on their personality (Wills & Schuldberg, 2016). While psychopathy traits have been reported in police officers (Próchniak, 2012), these traits have yet to be assessed as a function of time. The current study explores these relationships by assessing psychopathy traits, as measured by the Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised, in a sample of New York City police officers and recruits across groups categorized by age and the length of time spent on the job. Significant differences of psychopathy traits were found between age and time-on-the-job groups, particularly in PPI-1 traits. However, these relationships do not fit a simple, linear model. It was also found that this sample had higher PPI-1 scores than PPI-2 scores across all time variables, a configuration that is unique from that of criminal and community samples (Lilienfeld & Widows, 2005). These findings suggest that a significant relationship exists between psychopathy and time, a relationship that varies between populations. These findings also warrant further research, preferably longitudinal in nature.

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