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PSP families play an important role in the work of the PSP. Family members are often involved in the organization in some way, and also take part in supporting the PSP outside of work. However, PSP families may feel some tension with that role as they try to take care of their own needs and wellbeing. This can lead to ambivalence. Ambivalent feelings are contradictory feelings. Mixed emotions of pride, confusion, and uncertainty is another way to describe ambivalence. For example, a spouse or significant other (SSO) or child may feel proud that a family member is a police officer and, at the same time, have negative feelings about that role.

Ambivalence can arise at different times over the course of a PSP career. It can be more or less intense and stirred up by a variety of experiences. For example, due to the job, PSP miss important family events, their commitment to the organization comes before their family, or they are unexpectedly called into work. These types of disruptions can lead to feelings of ambivalence for family members.

Being a part of a public safety organization often means that those within it are expected to behave in particular ways. PSP enact particular roles, and PSP families are expected to support the organization’s values and practices. Loyalty to the organization is often part of being a PSP family. This can be a source of pride, but also comes with pressure and expectations. When loyalty is forced, it is not always embraced, which can lead to feelings of ambivalence.

Ambivalence can also be felt when PSP families face negative messages from the public. They can feel pride and, at the same time, feel frustration or embarrassment if there is criticism of PSP in the media.

Why might PSP families experience ambivalence?

What shapes ambivalent feelings?

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References for this page (click to expand)

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