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Development of a work–family conflict scale for spouses or partners of police officers

Karen L. Amendola (Research, National Police Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, USA)
Maria Valdovinos Olson (Research, National Police Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, USA)
Julie Grieco (Research, National Police Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, USA)
Teresina G. Robbins (University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 5 January 2021

Issue publication date: 19 March 2021




The purpose of this research is to initiate the development of a police-specific measure of work–family conflict (WFC) to assess spouse and/or partner perceptions of the impact of WFC on them, their family and/or their personal lives by tapping existing dimensions of WFC and proposing three dimensions that may be specific to the policing profession. This developmental and exploratory work will serve as the basis for sample data collection with spouses of police.


For over five decades, researchers have examined the construct of WFC, a phenomenon that refers to the impact of work-related issues on the family of the worker. Despite the fact that policing is a high-stress profession, now under considerable scrutiny and increasing public pressure, much less is known about WFC in police families and the perceptions of spouses and/or partners of police officers regarding WFC. The methodology for developing this scale follows that recommended by psychometricians in the construction of reliable and valid scales for use in both descriptive and predictive research.


The data reported were generated from an initial content validity study relying on 14 subject matter experts with backgrounds in policing, police research and/or psychometrics and approximately 20 spouses/partners (significant others of police officers). The findings provide preliminary evidence for six potential dimensions of WFC totaling 34 items.


While some researchers have assessed the extent to which certain work-related factors impact police officers' family members, none have tapped additional domain-specific items for police while also surveying spouses and/or partners of officers.



This project was supported by Award No. 2016-R2-CX-0061, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to the Police Foundation (NPF). The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice or NPF. We would like to thank the spouses and/or partners of Austin Police Department officers that participated in the focus groups in 2019. We also express our appreciation to those serving as subject matter experts in the expert judgment tasks.


Amendola, K.L., Valdovinos Olson, M., Grieco, J. and Robbins, T.G. (2021), "Development of a work–family conflict scale for spouses or partners of police officers", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 44 No. 2, pp. 275-290.



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