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Military-like influence: Exerting control

Topics: Couples, Family, Mental Health

Controlling behaviours at home

Public safety organizations are ‘military-like’ because they have ranks and a chain of command. They require PSP to obey orders and rely on teamwork and rigorous training. Behaviours and traits that allow PSP to do their jobs well are respected and valued by organizations. However, these behaviours can affect couple and family relationships when they spill over into home life. If a PSP is having a hard time detaching from the job, it might lead to more controlling behaviours at home. What PSP witness on the job can also affect their behaviours at home and cause them to be overprotective of their families. Authoritarian spillover is a term used to describe the carry-over of these controlling behaviours into the home.

Authoritarian spillover: How it happens


The effects of controlling behaviours on families

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References for this page (click to expand)

Agocs, T., Langan, D., & Sanders, C. B. (2015). Police mothers at home: Police work and danger-protection parenting practices. Gender & Society, 29(2), 265-289. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243214551157  

Badawy, P. J. & Schieman, S. (2021). With greater power comes greater stress? Authority, supervisor support, and work-family strains. Journal of Marriage and Family 83(1):40-56. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12714 

Cheema, R. (2016). Black and blue bloods: protecting police officer families from domestic violence.  Family Court Review, 54(3), 487-500. https://doi.org/10.1111/fcre.12226  

Greenhaus, J. H., & Beutell, N. J. (1985). Sources of conflict between work and family roles. The Academy of Management Review, 10(1), 76-88. https://doi.org/10.2307/258214  

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Ricciardelli, R., Carleton, R. N., Groll, D., & Cramm, H. (2018). Qualitatively unpacking Canadian public safety personnel experiences of trauma and their well-being. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 60(4), 566-577. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjccj.2017-0053.r2  

Sommerfeld, A., Wagner, S. L., Harder, H. G., & Schmidt, G. (2017). Behavioral health and firefighters: an intervention and interviews with Canadian firefighters. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 22(4), 307-324. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2017.1284515  

Tuttle, B. M., Giano, Z., & Merten, M. J. (2018). Stress spillover in policing and negative relationship functioning for law enforcement marriages. The Family Journal (Alexandria, Va.), 26(2), 246-252. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480718775739  


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