Much research has been undertaken to determine what characterizes the ‘police personality’, but so far the results have been ambiguous. We conducted a comprehensive nationwide questionnaire survey of 3272 Norwegian police personnel at all ranks, using a short form of the Basic Character Inventory, Job Stress Survey, and Coping Strategies Scale. We combined the three personality traits of Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness into eight personality types: the spectator, insecure, sceptic, brooder, hedonist, impulsive, entrepreneur, and complicated. The results showed that entrepreneur and hedonist personality types, characterized by a combination of high values on Extraversion and low values on Neuroticism, reported lower values on perceived stress compared to others, whereas the insecure and brooder types, which combine low Extraversion with high values on Neuroticism, reported higher levels on perceived stress. Further, the entrepreneur and complicated types reported higher values on active coping strategies, whereas those combining low Extraversion and low Conscientiousness reported either less control coping (the insecure type), or support coping (the spectator type) compared to others. The findings indicate that a typology approach may be fruitful in exploring how police personnel with different combinations of personality traits experience and cope with stress.

Lau, Bjørn; Hem, Erlend; Berg, Anne Marie Lie; Ekeberg, Øivind; Torgersen, Svenn
Personality and Individual Differences 41(5): 971–982
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