Coping, confidence, and change within the academy: A longitudinal look at police recruits
This study is based on surveys of police recruits representing four agencies across the United States. The recruits were surveyed at the beginning and end of their academy training and asked about coping strategies and the confidence they had in performing their jobs. Coping shifted significantly over time, with recruits utilizing task-oriented and outreach strategies less frequently at the end of the academy than at the beginning. Avoidance coping strategies were used more frequently by recruits at the end of the academy than at the beginning. Slight changes were also found in the influence of these strategies on job confidence over time, with avoidance coping having a stronger influence in the beginning of the academy than at the end. The role of demographic factors on coping was largely invariant over time, with only slight differences detected. Implications for policy and research are also discussed.