Professional integrity, modern racism, self -esteem, and universality-diversity orientation of police officers in a large urban police agency

Sophine Charles, Fordham University


This research investigated the relationship of racial attitudes, performance integrity, self-esteem, and universality-diversity orientation among urban police officers. Initially, a total of 152 Police Officers were administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (1965), the Modern Racism Scale (1981), the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale (2000), the Police Integrity Survey (Klockars et al., 2000), and the Charles Police Scenarios (2007). The usable sample consisted of 142 officers. The study was also designed to investigate the relationship of demographic variables (race, gender, age, and seniority) with racial attitudes, self-esteem, universal-diversity orientation, and professional integrity. The researcher proposed 10 hypotheses. Results of study demonstrated support for 5 of the hypotheses, partial support for one hypothesis, and 4 null hypotheses were rejected. It was hypothesized that the participants' racial attitudes, self-esteem, and universal diverse orientation would have significant and positive correlations with levels of professional integrity. It was hypothesized that the participants' seniority, gender, and race would be predictors of level of professional integrity. Statistically significant relationships were found between: (1) modern racism and race of the officers with Black officers scoring lower than White officers, (2) modern racism and age, with older officers scoring lower on racism than younger officers, (3) modern racism and seniority, with senior officers scoring lower than junior officers, and (4) modern racism and self-esteem, with officers with high self-esteem scoring lower in racism. Partial support was found for the hypotheses examining relationships among variables of interest (MRS, UDO, and RSES), predicting police integrity scores above and beyond the score variance predicted by demographic variables. More specifically, self-esteem predicted integrity scores above and beyond demographic variables. The study results found no significant relationships among the following: (a) seniority on the job and integrity, (b) race and integrity, (c) gender and integrity, (d) modern racism and integrity, or (e) modern racism and gender. Consequently, no evidence was found to support these hypotheses. This study adds to existing research by examining the racial attitudes of police officers, self-esteem measures, and the implications of these constructs on police behavior and professional integrity. Limitations of the study are noted, and both quantitative and qualitative future research directions are presented.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Public administration|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Charles, Sophine, "Professional integrity, modern racism, self -esteem, and universality-diversity orientation of police officers in a large urban police agency" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361463.