Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology


Since the mid 1970s, family violence has become a high priority social issue. Along with this rise in awareness of family violence as a major social problem, the police response to such situations was also evaluated and found to be deficient. Two perspectives have evolved in the literature for improving the effectiveness of police intervention. The first perspective argues for adequate police training while the second advocates mandatory arrest when violence occurs;This study examines the police response to domestic disturbances by developing and testing two models that have been extrapolated from the theoretical and empirical knowledge on police behavior. The first model, the organizational model, examines the influence the police organization has on the officer's response to domestic disturbances. The second model, the psychological predispositional model, looks at those characteristics of officers that influence their response to family fights;The questionnaire developed for this study was administered to police officers from four police departments. 242 Line officers (75 percent completion rate) filled out the survey;Tests of the organizational model indicated amount and type of training were very strong predictors of a service (counseling and referral) response, while organizational priorities and the officer's police role within the community were influential in determining a law enforcement (arrest) response;The psychological predispositional model explained 47 percent of the variance in the dependent variable for the service response. The values, attitudes, and perceptions of police officers toward the police role at family fights were influenced by the officer's education, sex, police experience and police peers.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Michael Gene Breci



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173 pages