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The stressors inherent to undercover operatives

The present paper has three purposes: (a) to go over undercover operatives and the stressors inherent to undercover operations based on literature review, (b) to outline the proposed research project, (c) and also to examine the anticipating findings, conclusions, limitations and relevance for insurance policy and practice of the proposed research project.

It is nearly impossible to carefully turn on the news or to watch excellent time television with no mention of a takedown or a main character on the sitcom who's an undercover operative. Population is fascinated and romanticizes undercover operatives. These operatives are often portrayed in high risk situations that they usually undertake and endure triumphantly. Nevertheless, what the majority of these information headlines and sitcoms neglect is the complicated and difficult work that define most successful undercover functions. In fact, the general public rarely if hears or reads about the impact that undercover procedures have on the operatives and their personal lives.

With the upsurge in the numbers of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agencies working undercover, in 1979 the FBI supervision became concerned with the detrimental areas of the personal determination required for undercover procedures. In 1980 a study was conducted to look for the nature and degree of the stressors being experience by undercover operatives to be able to devise methods of reducing their unwanted effects.

The current review will replicate the research conducted in 1980. Furthermore, the present review will further take a look at the stressors natural to undercover functions and will give attention to undercover operative's negative emotions, reactive conducts and coping strategies.

Problem Statement

Undercover functions impact not only the undercover operatives' professional life but their personal life as well. There exists very little research that addresses this impact or the talents and restrictions of undercover work. The empirical research on authorities stress generally and undercover stress specifically is bound by number, how current and relevant the results are, and the methods employed. The existing study looks for to load this gap in the books by evaluating the stressors inherent to undercover procedures and identifying an undercover providers' coping strategies (personality, mental health and interpersonal) when working with these stressors.

Relevance of the Problem

As the amounts of FBI agent and job force officers conducting undercover work continue steadily to increase, so do the amounts of emotional assessments being conducted by the FBI Undercover Guard Unit (USU). Presently, many of these undercover operations are the infiltration of terrorist and extremist groupings. These kinds of operations have successfully prevented organized terrorist functions in Portland, WA and Baltimore, MD. Nevertheless, the books has little to provide on the stress due to issues such as "dual betrayal" which is inherent in these kinds of operations, and symbolizes one of lots singular stressors involved in undercover operations. It is important to look at "dual betrayal" and other stressors inherent to undercover work to be able to look for the risk factors as well as the defensive factors that can donate to the psychological wellness of any undercover operative.

Implications for coverage and/or practice

Based on the results of the study advice can be made on selection, supervision and administrative procedures designed. These advice will seek to minimize the extraneous types of stress which might adversely impact an undercover operative.

In addition, the results of this research should help to sensitize the undercover operative and their supervisors to the most detrimental kinds of stress and to identify the warning signs which indicate these kinds of stress reach a dangerous level.

Lastly, the result of this study can be used to develop new and impressive investigative approaches and techniques in psychological assessments and guidance that would solve the undercover employee's psychological well-being and operational readiness to engage and/or continue steadily to function in covert or daily investigations.

Literature Review

Law enforcement officers (LEOs) are confronted with very unique and difficult situations. These situations may include in person encounters with violent offenders as well as criminal offenses scenes with diseased and injured offenders and patients. Many times these law enforcement officers are turned down by the same community they took an oath to protect. There are communities which lack respect an admiration for an organization they deem as cruel and corrupt. Therefore, law enforcement officers must effectively mediated and counteract the inherent job related stressors as well as those stressors which can be unique with their identity as police officers (Noblet, Rodwell, & Allisey, 2009; Adams & Buck, 2010; Shane, 2010; McCarty, Zhao & Garland, 2007).

Many LEOs are unable to successfully integrate adaptive approaches for mediating occupational stressors. However, some of these LEOs succumb to traditionally maladaptive coping mechanisms. This in turn negatively effects their personal and professional lives which results in more stress and unfavorable results. There are specific segments of the law enforcement community that face greater variety of systemic stressors than others. These LEOs often have workloads that significantly impact their opportunity and ability to work with coping strategies and to minimize the effects of experienced stressors (Waters & Ussery, 2007; Gersho, Barocas, Caonto, Li & Vlahov, 2009).

Undercover operations draw in LEOs who are highly conscientious and also have performed well and reliably under nerve-racking and strenuous circumstances. Undercover operations are searched for by real estate agents/taskforce officers and their supervisors similarly. These kinds of assignments are often seen as a stepping rocks to professional improvement and personal accomplishment. You will find LEOs who excel in undercover tasks; these officers effectively adapt potentially dangerous stress changing it into beneficial stress (eustress). Nevertheless, an assessment of the books reveals that LEOs who've healthy coping device will be the exception and not the guideline. Undercover functions impact the LEO as well as those who surround them. Long-term undercover businesses in particular required excessive levels of time and dedication that are in times inconsistent with the notion and ideologies of many experienced officers (Cuttler & Muchinsky, 2006; Cochrane, Tett, & Vandecreek, 2003).

Long-term operations require the development of a unique romantic relationship with the mark. Additionally there is a different romantic relationship between these undercover operatives and their supervisors which at times can intensify an undercover's emotions of isolation and abandonment. These undercover LEOs role learning requirements can be complicated and distressing which negatively impacts their social associations. Often the unspecified but understood requirements of undercover businesses can end in the unpredictable manner of a brilliant career, resulting in dysfunctional romantic relationships, personal hardship, a lack of self-esteem and self-respect, and mental and physical harm (Noblet, Rodwell, & Allisey, 2009).

Several factors can contribute to this downward spiral. Lack of sufficient training, lack of effective supervision, unrealistic work needs and an under cover's constant need to succeed in an operation are a few of the factors which may have been observed. Unfortunately, undercover operatives who do not flourish in their respective businesses as recognized by the undercover or their supervisors succumb to thoughts of pity and embarrassment, become withdrawn, irritable, at times lashing out against the prospective due to fear, aggravation or displaced anger. Undercover procedures would appear to heighten the psychological stressors already within regulations enforcement community. Nevertheless, those undercover operatives who recognized the negative effects of stressors and reach out for assistance are likely to be ridiculed and ostracized by their co-workers and supervisors. These officials are at times labeled as fragile, untrustworthy and/or broken goods (Cuttler & Muchinsky, 2006).

In order to understand the impact of stress on police operatives, it is important to look at stress from a person's perspective. This examination should include the harmful and beneficial impact of undercover operations on the professional, personal and sociable environment of an operative.

Most individual's seek to minimize stressors and increase the rewards (emotional at times) in order to carry on the every day lives. The sense of goal from successfully carrying out an assignment at the job with home can be one particular reward. An individual's occupation provides a way to obtain pride, fulfillment and personal achievement. Nevertheless, this same job can be inlayed in a stressful environment that fosters annoyance creating mental and physical harm. LEOs are constantly subjected to dangerous situations, mental distress by others, threats to personal safety and life modifying split second decisions. This may be compounded by having less respect from the public, frustration with the criminal justice system and gathered encounters of critical incidents. This leaves the LEO susceptible to chronic stress. That is considered a distinctive trait of the law enforcement occupation (Swenson & Plebanski, 2009).

Additionally, an undercover operatives home expectations and demands from regulations enforcement subculture can truly add to the experiential stressors and behavioral replies. Unique coping strategies in working with these stressors have been seen within regulations enforcement community. The literature has reviewed the maladaptive coping strategies that are used and the impact that these strategies may have on undercover operatives personal, professional and social lives. These maladaptive coping strategies include but are not limited to; mental detachment cynicism, alcohol abuse, intimate promiscuity, and risky tendencies (McCarty, Zhao, & Garland, 2007; Shane, 2010)

. The impact these maladaptive coping strategies may have on the undercover operatives' life is not succinctly examined or mentioned in the literature. The empirical research reveals that work assignment can be related to degrees of experienced stress within the law enforcement community and can contribute to the next use and popularity of liquor as an attempt to mediate degrees of stress. Coping strategies that are utilized to address the issue of work related stress are serious concerns for everyone LEOs; however, some assignments within the law enforcement community may be observed as more stressful than others and could be more important for study of both work related stress and coping strategies (Gershon, Barocas, Canton, Li, & Vlahov, 2009).

Undercover assignments, for example, have been identified as one of the most stressful responsibilities within regulations enforcement community. Consequently, further analyzing the impact of undercover tasks on LEOs can offer a valuable contribution to the literature on law enforcement officials stress (Krause, 2008; Varela, Boccaccini, Scogin, Stump, & Caputo, 2004).

The psychological issues that can be experienced by a LEO in undercover operation include but are not limited to paranoia, isolation, stressed tension, depression, dread, and anger. Furthermore, much more serious personality disorders seem common among officers, both during and after the completion of undercover procedures. These disorders also may require major depression, anger-hostility, differing phobias, paranoia, psychotic ideation, and interpersonal insensitivity (Adams & Buck, 2010; Carlan & Nored, 2008).

Overall, the amount of suspicion that lots of officers encounter, and cannot effectively deal with, may cause problems in every areas of their professional and personal lives. In addition to the inherent stressors of undercover work, officers can also experience degrees of alienation from population, as well as from other colleagues. The anger and resentment experienced by undercover officers can lead to a do it yourself alienation, which exacerbates prior feelings and plays a part in the stressors being experienced by the LEO (Carlan & Nored, 2008).

Finally, undercover projects can place additional, and sometimes frustrating, strain on the personal lives of these involved in such operations. Lovers of those given to undercover businesses are put through odd working hours and unstable schedules. They are really faced with days and nights and even weeks of the official partner being abroad, and they may experience continual concern for the safeness of the LEO. Additionally, operatives engaged in undercover businesses are often involved in a role that will require night time partying, the consumption of alcohol, and connections with members of the contrary making love with whom the official is attempting to gain trust and confidence. In this environment, the officer may undergo changes in personality and lifestyle because of this of the role, which becomes noticeable to the spouse. These stressors represent only many of the conditions that most undercover operatives must effectively offer with day in and day trip.

Research Strategy

Undercover law enforcement officers are coping with lots of stressors such as divorce, mental disorders and suicide. In some cases undercover police officers, given these and other stressors, have been involved with criminal behavior, problem, and espionage. It's important to determine the nature and scope of the stressors natural with undercover work and devise methods of reducing their results.

The reason for this analysis is to: Identify those stressors inherent to undercover tasks within federal and local LEOs and determine the partnership between specific personality, mental and interpersonal relationships orientation styles and the ability to deal with stressors widespread in undercover operations.

The questions being reviewed are:

Is there a substantial correlation between personality styles (3rd party variable) and an undercover law enforcement officer's ability to handle stressors widespread in undercover project (reliant variable)?

Is there a substantial correlation between internal characteristics (impartial variable) and an undercover law enforcement officer's ability to cope with stressors common in undercover task (based mostly variable)?

Is there a substantial correlation between interpersonal relations orientation (3rd party variable) and an undercover police officer's ability to handle stressors common in undercover task (based mostly variable)?

The research questions will be dealt with through the use of validated and reliable psychometric checks. A quantitative research design consisting of psychometric test given to LEOs allocated and formerly designated to undercover procedures, as well as those who never have been so given, will be used.

Recognizing the impact of undercover assignments on the average person officers involved can help in addressing the bigger problem of the impact on regulations enforcement community. This research has implications for police agencies concerned with the emotional and professional welfare of officers designated to undercover responsibilities, and it offers some understanding of the effects of such operations on officials at the average person, social, and professional levels. Furthermore, the results of this study can offer valuable insight in to the individual toll of undercover operations and allows for the study of this issue from a all natural and concerned point of view.


Independent Variable

The independent factors will an under cover's personality style as measured by the 16PF or 16 Personality Factors test. An under cover's emotional characteristics as dependant on the MMPI-II, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Last but not least an under cover's interpersonal relations orientation will be analyzed with the FIRO-B, the fundamental interpersonal relationships orientation examination.

Dependant Variable

Ideally, calculating the stressors inherent to undercover functions and the coping strategies used by undercover operatives would address the research questions. Thus, the dependant factors measured will be the natural stressors of undercover operations and coping strategies used.


The test of participants is a representative stratified sample. The concentration will be on undercover police officers. Ideally, there will be a total of approximately 100 participants in the control and three experimental communities in order to carry out an adequate statistical analysis. This might be a total of 400 members.


Approximately 400 undercover police officers will be separated into four categories:

No experience (control group)- No genuine experience as an operative although may possess considerable experience in undercover functions as a contact of online backup.

Occasional experience (experimental group)- Infrequent assignment as an undercover operative for brief intervals (2 times or less).

Frequent experience (experimental group)- Recurrent task as undercover operative but not extended or ongoing undercover role requirements (30 days or less).

Long term experience (experimental group)- Long term or deep cover experience with prolonged or constant role requirements (more than 1 month).


Procedure: The undercover police officers will be implemented the following test during regularly slated safeguard assessments:

16 PF: 16 personality factors a personality diagnosis (APPENDIX I. )

MMPI-II: Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is test is utilized to aid in identifying personality framework and psychopathology (or SCL-90R, Millan Device MCMI-3) (APPENDIX II. )

FIRO-B: Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) is an assessment for social relations (APPENDIX III. )

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Range: The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of 43 stressful lifestyle incidents that can donate to illness. (APPENDIX IV. )

The Coping Strategies Inventory: can be an assessment created by Rory C. Reid, MSW, Provo Counselling Middle. (APPENDIX V. )

Anticipated Data Analysis Plan

The researchers programs on using Structural Equation Modeling in order to check and estimate causal relations (between personality characteristics, psychological characteristics, interpersonal relations orientation and an UC's ability to cope with stressors) utilizing a blend of statistical data and qualitative causal assumptions.

Expected Results and Conclusions

I be prepared to identify the stressors natural to undercover procedures. Furthermore, to determining the specific personality, emotional and interpersonal relationships orientation needed to effectively deal with the stressor natural to undercover work.

Expected Relevance for Coverage and Practice

Research focused on law enforcement officials stress and undercover operations has provided important, but limited insight into the impact of undercover operations on the professional, personal, and public lives of the operatives. There's a lack of empirical research responding to the positive principles of undercover tasks from the individual perspective. Therefore, further research is required to identify the impact that undercover assignments have on the lives of those who function in this capacity. This understanding is necessary for efforts to prevent the emotional and physiological harm that can result from continual and high impact stressors confronted in undercover businesses, and reduce the maladaptive coping methods utilized to counterbalance such stressors.

Limitations of the Research

The results of this study can only be generalized to the undercover police society. The researcher also understands that test size will also determine the genralizability, validity and stability of this review leads to the undercover community. In addition, the operational definitions for four categories of undercover official, coping strategies and inherent stressors to undercover operations can create bias and could affect the end results of the analysis.

Relevant IRB Issues

The IRB will be concerned with deciding and guaranteeing that the info obtained on the undercover operatives is registered in that manner that the operatives can not be readily identified, directly or through identifiers from the operatives; and any disclosure of the operative's responses beyond your research could relatively place the operative at risk of unlawful or civil liability or be damaging to the operatives' financial standing up, employability, or reputation.

Given the actual fact that the analysis use historical data presently stored at the Undercover Safeguard Device (USU), the IRB will further be concerned with ensuring the collection or analysis of existing data, documents, and records is registered by the investigator in such a manner again that operatives cannot be identified, straight or through identifiers linked to the operatives.

Lastly the IRB will ensure that the approvals of academic and professional division or agency minds are obtained.

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