Date of Conferral







James Herndon


Police suicide has been a largely under-researched topic with a small number of quantitative studies- that limit the exploration of potential causals models in the literature. This restricts current scholarly explanations behind officer suicide, furtheradding barriers to adequate prevention and detection. This study was focused on possible explanations behind police suicide, using Zhang's strain theory of suicide and Joiner's interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide to explain the variables used in the model. Using a moderation model, the research question asked to what extent an officer's education level affects the relationship between levels of police officer misconduct and risk for suicide. This study used archival data collected in a national study on law enforcement officers, partially funded by the National Institute of Justice and published in 1997(N=412). Logistic regression was used to analyze significance of the model, ultimately being unable to detect significance between the variables, neither individually on an officer's risk for suicide (officer misconduct= p>.05; officer education= p>.05) nor combined as an interaction to an officer's risk for suicide (p>.05). Recommendations for future research include utilizing a research design that better controls officer risk for suicide by equally weighing suicidal and nonsuicidal groups of officers. This will allow for a researcher to more validly compare the influence of the variables by viewing the effect on both groups (suicidal vs. non-suicidal). Implications for social change include contributing to the under-researched literature base of police suicide, increasing awareness of police suicide through scholarly publication and presentations, and advocating for better educated officers.

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