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Assessing Similarities and Differences in Self-Control between Police Officers and Offenders

  • Ryan C. MeldrumEmail author
  • Christopher M. Donner
  • Shawna Cleary
  • Andy Hochstetler
  • Matt DeLisi
Article

Abstract

Research provides consistent evidence that non-offenders have greater self-control than offenders. While such differences exist across a range of samples, the ability of measures of self-control to discriminate between different groups merits additional attention. We advance research on this topic by comparing the self-control of police officers to offenders. Results indicate police officers score higher than offenders do on global self-control. Results also indicate that, when analyzing differences across the six dimensions of self-control conceptualized by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), police officers consistently score lower in impulsivity, self-centeredness, and anger than offenders. At the same time, police officers have a greater preference for physical activities than offenders do, and the risk-seeking and simple tasks dimensions are inconsistently associated with being a police officer relative to an offender across the different models estimated. Discussion centers on the implications of these findings for theory and for the screening of potential police recruits.

Keywords

Self-control Police officers Prisoners Grasmick et al. (1993) Scale 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their appreciation to the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan C. Meldrum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher M. Donner
    • 2
  • Shawna Cleary
    • 3
  • Andy Hochstetler
    • 4
  • Matt DeLisi
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Criminal Justice and CriminologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Central OklahomaEdmondUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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