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Researchers of police psychology must be well-acquainted with police work and culture both nationally and organizationally. However, most studies developed in police psychology do not fully account for the national context within which a study was done. In this article review, we discuss two social phenomena commonly studied by police psychologists: aggression and violence. Taking primarily a cross-national approach, we focus on the predictive role of individual values on aggression and violence. Schwartz’s (1992) values theory, at the individual level of analysis, was chosen due to its importance to cross-cultural psychology, as well as its implications on well-being (e.g., Sagiv & Schwartz, 2000). We discuss how certain values may promote certain attitudes and behaviors (i.e., actions) and assert that human values affect aggression and violence. We review studies that have evidenced the relationship between values and aggression in the police context include suggestions on how to include values in a research agenda about violence and aggression. We discuss possible implications for increasing police officers’ education and training, particularly reinforcing social values to guide actions. In order to foster change in aggressive and violent behaviors, it is imperative that police officers become aware of their own values. This must begin with the value of hierarchy, as well as tradition and conformity values. Finally, we pose discussion questions for researchers interested in investigating the interface between police and cross-cultural psychologies in the future, and for the use of educators to guide their in-class teaching.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.