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Global and Specific Attitudes Toward the Police: Disentangling the Relationship

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1994) Pages: 119-134
Date Published
16 pages
Data collected from 398 respondents were used to examine the extent to which global attitudes toward police affect specific assessment of police performance. The data were collected through a three-wave panel survey conducted as part of a larger study of narcotics enforcement.
To assess the disparity and association between specific and global attitudes toward the police, the two measures were compared across types of contact (when requesting information, when requesting assistance, when stopped and questioned, and when victimized). The comparison of specific with global attitudes shows that most differences are neither substantially large nor statistically significant. Citizens who have had a contact with the police tend to be more satisfied with their individual performance than with the police in general. The results suggest that global and specific attitudes toward police are causally related and that the causal effects are asymmetrically reciprocal. That is, while citizens' stereotyped perceptions of police affect their evaluation of their personal contact with the police, the effects of specific attitudes on global attitudes have probably been overestimated. 4 tables, 8 notes, and 28 references

Date Published: January 1, 1994