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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donald Arwood


This study is an examination of volunteer police reserve officers from an identity theory perspective. Data was collected via a cross-sectional survey of 194 reserve officers affiliated with a reserve association in Minnesota to determine factors associated with reserve officers’ identity salience, identity prominence, and role performances. Identity salience and identity prominence were treated as the main independent variables and role performances were treated as the main dependent variable. Results of statistical tests indicated the following: (1) one variable, role conflict, was associated with identity salience; (2) two variables, affective commitment and interactional commitment were associated with identity prominence; (3) two variables, identity prominence and number of hours volunteered per month were associated with role performances; and (4) three variables, number of months as a reserve officer, reflected appraisals, and social integration, may enhance the associations with identity salience and/or identity prominence and/or role performances. This study contributes to the sociological literature by examining the police volunteer identity as the consequence of relationships to the social structure and others. It also makes a contribution to the largely atheoretical police literature because it goes beyond descriptive characteristics of police volunteers and provides a theoretical explanation of why reserve officers engage in particular types of role performances.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Volunteer workers in law enforcement - Psychology
Identity (Psychology)




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