First Advisor

Charles A. Tracy

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Policewomen -- United States, Prediction of occupational success



Physical Description

2, ix, 152 leaves 28 cm.


Female police officers are relatively new to the profession of law enforcement. Prior to 1968, the very few who were employed by police agencies were not permitted to perform the full range of police duties. Subsequent to that time their number has increased so that today they account for approximately 8.3 percent of the total sworn police population. There have been numerous studies which have attempted to identify the sociopsychological characteristics of male police officers. For example, Neiderhoffer reported in 1967 that male officers rate high in authoritarianism, anomia, job dissatisfaction, and choose police work for job security reasons. Very little research has been conducted about female police officers. The pioneering study of female police officers was conducted in 1971 by Dr. Gary R. Perlstein. He examined the extent to which the same characteristics studied by Neiderhoffer were found among female officers and reported consistently lower levels. Perlstein's study sample, however, was limited by the length of time his respondents could have performed line duties. This dissertation was designed to partly replicate the Perlstein (1971) study in an effort to determine whether or not there have been changes in these characteristics among contemporary female police officers. Data were collected by administering a questionnaire to female police officers in eight of the fourteen police agencies surveyed by Perlstein (six declined to participate for unknown reasons), and to female police officers attending an annual professional conference. The total sample population was 784, composed of all ranks performing all types of police work. The findings of this research appear to validate those reported by Perlstein. These findings should have significant impact on policies related to the recruiting, selection, and retention of all police officers. Equally important was the strong implication that authoritarianism, anomia and job dissatisfaction are negatively associated with the problem-solving role associated with the emerging community-policing or new paradigm model of police organizations. The characteristics of female police officers may well become the standards against which future ideal police candidates should be evaluated


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