The interrelationship between policemen's coping strategies and features of emotional intelligence

The urgency of the problem considered in the article is the insufficient illumination in the domestic psychological literature of the issues of coping behavior in the context of connection with emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is understood as the ability to understand emotions, manage them, build adequate interpersonal relationships. The author gave the analysis of the concepts of «coping», «stress-overcoming behavior», «strategy of coping behavior». In the course of theoretical and empirical study patterns of formation and functioning of stress-overcoming behavior were identified, the relationship between coping and the specifics of the components of emotional intelligence was indicated. A qualitative characteristic of coping was given, which combines the important indicators of personal competence and the success of interaction in professional activities; the relationship between coping behavior and emotional intelligence of law enforcement officers in terms of a systematic approach was determined. The relationship of psychological conditions for the success of social adaptation through the system of coping behavior is considered. It is proved that stress-overcoming behavior is one of the important psychological factors for ensuring the effectiveness of professional activity in extreme conditions. It is revealed that the structure and content of strategies of overcoming behavior are under the determining influence of the abilities and skills that form the emotional intelligence of the individual. Social adaptation of individuals with highly developed emotional intelligence is a complex personality trait that relies primarily on the ability to control one's own emotions, to motivate oneself to master the skills of emotionally saturated and regulated behavior, to recognize the emotions of other people, and generally to highly developed emotional intelligence as integral personal ability. Persons with high coping potential are endowed with great opportunities for social and psychological adaptation in various conditions of activity.

Fundamental changes taking place in modern society, scientific and technical progress, the widespread introduction of information technologies, automation and computerization of production have led to the complication of production processes, to increased requirements for the subject of labor. The global nature of such changes and the ambiguity of their consequences sharpen the attention of the scientific community to the problem of occupational stress. The increase in the number of stressful diseases, in particular, the psychosomatic nature, the increase in unemployment, various forms of violation of a person's psychological well-being, associated with professional burnout and deformation of a person, including professional deviations, are assessed as a serious threat to both the quality of life of an individual and the functioning of society as a whole.

Today, researchers of various theoretical and applied areas of psychology are engaged in developing issues of coping behavior as a field of study, located at the intersection of general, social, age psychology and work psychology, and addressing the problems of regulation and productivity of behavior, personaldevelopment, mental and physical well-being in stressful situations. This direction is closely related to the applied aspects of providing practical assistance to people in a difficult life or professional situation.

The key point in the understanding of coping behavior is the realization that not only the characteristics of stress, but also the characteristics of the coping personality have a significant impact on the adaptability and productivity of the subject. The effectiveness of performance is achieved not only by professional knowledge and skills, but also the characteristics of coping behavior. Inability to cope with stress, manage their own behavior in special life or service situations reduces the efficiency of the performance of official duties [1; 28].

Legal psychology in the study of professional labor of employees in the field of law also addresses the issue of coping behavior. The interest in this problem is connected with the peculiarities of the activities of workers in the legal industry, which takes place in specific, sometimes extreme conditions and is exposed to various negative factors. These factors include: unpredictability and excess of the performed tasks, high social responsibility for the results of a lawyer's work, work with a lack of time and information, close personal communication with various population groups, strict regulation of work by legislation and public norms, etc. Thus, the legal profession orientation are stressful in nature, requiring the employee to mobilize all available psychological resources [2; 54].

Long and intense functioning in difficult extreme conditions leads to a decrease in the adaptation potential of the individual, intra- and interpersonal conflicts, professional deformation of the personality, disciplinary violations and official deviations. The risk of various types of depression, psychosomatic disorders, addiction, aggression, etc. increases [3; 56]. In this regard, the scientific and psychological substantiation of the phenomenon of coping behavior of legal labor specialists, the determination of basic coping strategies, internal and external coping resources of employees, the development of psychodiagnostic procedures and psychocorrection of coping behavior are among the most pressing issues of legal psychology [4; 281].

The problem of coping behavior originated in psychological studies that studied the question of methods of psychological protection in difficult life situations. N. Haan (1977), for example, considered coping as one of the types of protective behavior. According to some authors (R. Atkinson, H. Dogs, E. Hilgard, E.N. Yurasova, and others), the defense mechanism is «inward» and the coping behavior is «outward». Other authors, such as F.E. Vasilyuk, believed that the essence of protective processes is to provide time to prepare for more mature, productive ways of stress-overcoming behavior. Coping researchers (I. Chekhlaty, B.D. Karvasarsky, V.A. Tashlykov, I.R. Abitov) argue that the difference between coping and protective behavior lies in the fact that coping mechanisms are active, flexible and conscious, have a social orientation., and defense processes are unconscious, rigid, passive, aimed at achieving their own well-being and serve to emotionally alleviate the traumatic situation. In addition, during the defense, the situation is resolved «here and now», and coping has a time perspective.

The study of coping behavior in foreign psychological literature has a rich history. Among the most famous studies it is necessary to mention the works that study the mechanisms of action of coping strategies (M. Jerusalem, J. Mattlin, R. Lazarus, S. Volkmann, R. Schwarzer), their connection with coping resources (A. Billings, R. Moos), other psychological characteristics (J. Birkimer, D. Galakher, M. Petrosu). No less popular are the studies that determine the styles of coping behavior (J. Amirkhan, J. Weintraub, P. Vitalino, K. Carver, E. Heim, M. Scheyer) and their influence on adaptation processes (M. Beiler, M. Johnston, Partridge, D. Terry, N. Kjuper, K. Nakano), as well as their age (D. Guttman, G. English, P. Costa, R. McCrae) and sex (M. Seyfege-Krenke, F. Blanchard-Feldes, L. Sulsky) differences.

In Russian psychological science, the concept of coping began to take shape in the 90s. Russian scientists have proposed their own interpretation of coping, which took shape in terms of synonyms «coping», «coping behavior», «overcoming behavior». Early works on this issue include the studies of V.V. Arshavsky, R.A. Zachepitsky, N.V. Ivanova, V.S. Merlin, K.K. Platonova, Z.S. Razumova, V.S. Rotenberg, V.A. Tashlykova. The term «condominium» first appears in the works of L.I. Antsyferova, E.I. Chekhlatoy, N.A. Orphans, V.M. Yaltonsky, E.R. Isaeva etc. A great contribution to the study of coping or coping behavior was made by V.A. Bodrov, N.E. Vodopyanova, E. Starchenkova, T.L. Kryukova, E.A. Sergienko and others.

In the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kasin G.A, is engaged in the study of coping strategies (coping behavior of adolescents), B.K. Zhumagaliyeva, E.I. Barabanov (military coping strategies), S.B. Abdeeva, M.A. Schmidt, A.D. Korneev (effectiveness of students coping strategies), E.V. Dergacheva (ethnic aspects of coping) and others. However, despite the considerable amount of work on the problem under consideration, they insufficiently reveal the complex nature of the phenomenon of coping, are staged and often do not have empirical verification.

The choice of a way to relieve stress depends on many factors. Among them are the characterological features of the subject, his social environment, cognitive features, value-semantic sphere of the personality. One of the key factors in choosing a coping strategy is the success of a person's social adaptation in both everyday and professional life.

The effectiveness of adaptation essentially depends on how the subject adequately perceives itself in the surrounding world, how successfully it builds social relations, how much the subject is ready and able to change its behavior according to the demands of communication [5; 14]. The work of many domestic and foreign authors (N.E. Vodopyanova, K.A. Abulkhanova-Slavskaya, L.I. Antsyferova, A.N. Demin, G. Selye, G. Dikaya, A.N. Leontyev, V.I. Medvedev, V.A. Petrovsky, G. Vaillant, etc.).

In contrast, social adaptability as one of the components of coping behavior that ensures the success of a person finding and using social resources depends largely on the extent to which a person is able to recognize other people's own emotions and emotions and consciously control them. In other words, the social resource of coping behavior depends on the level of formation of the subject of emotional inettlement.

In recent years, the study of the phenomenology of emotional intelligence is developing more and more actively in psychological science. Foreign authors, one of the first drew attention to this issue, are S. Schechter, J. Singer, J. Mayer, P. Salovey, R. Bar-On, etc. Among the recent works devoted to the problem of emotional intelligence can be identified research of D.V. Lyusina, E.A. Sergeenko, S.S. Belova, V. Ushakova, I.N. Andreeva and others. Their theoretical and practical developments indicate a marked increase in relevance and great practical significance of research in this area [6; 30].

The considerable diversity of concepts and approaches to psychology in coping behavior, on the one hand, and the representation of a large number of different social interpretation principles, on the other, speaks of the complexity of the phenomenon of coping behavior and its dependence on many factors. However, in the context of coping behavior, emotional intelligence has hardly been studied. Establishing the influence of various conditions and components of emotional intelligence on coping and social adaptation strategies can be viewed as a step towards solving this problem, which justifies the relevance of our graduate research.

In connection with the aforementioned goal of the study, the establishment of the relationship of the psychological characteristics of coping behavior with the abilities and skills that form the emotional intelligence of the individual is favored.

The following research hypothesis is put forward: the structure and content of strategies for overcoming behavior are under the determinative influence of the abilities and skills that form the emotional intelligence of the individual.

In order to identify the features of coping styles among law enforcement officers and establish the specifics of their relationship with emotional intelligence, we conducted a study in which 58 police officers from Karaganda took part.

To test the hypothesis of the study, we used the following methods:

  1. «Coping behavior in stressful situations» by N. Endler in the adaptation of T.L. Kryukova. According to the author of the methodology, the main reactions to an emergency can be grouped into three groups [7; 11]:
  2. Problem-oriented coping (POC) is an adaptive strategy focused on finding adequate ways to overcome the problem. It is aimed at a conscious and active desire at the cognitive and behavioral level to influence the outcome of circumstances. A comprehensive analysis of the current situation, the search for cause-and-effect relationships, the active involvement of coping resources to solve the problem allow us to consciously and objectively comprehend the situation and successfully adapt to it.
  3. Emotionally-oriented coping (EOC) is aimed at affective response when it is impossible to control circumstances. This strategy allows you to relieve emotional stress, but does not allow to eliminate the stress factor, therefore, this strategy is referred to as relatively adaptive strategies.
  4. The strategy of avoiding problems is the least adaptive coping style, because ignoring the problem and refusing to find ways to overcome it only aggravates an unfavorable situation. Avoiding the problem involves the subject moving away from awareness, acceptance and change of stress factors. Avoiding a problem, individual leaves from negative experiences do not accept responsibility for it [8; 81].
  5. Questionnaire «Emin» («Emotional Intelligence») D. Lyusina. The scales of the questionnaire explore interpersonal emotional intelligence, which consist of such components as the intuitive understanding of others' emotions, understanding of others' emotions through expression, the general ability to understand others' emotions; intrapersonal emotional intelligence, which includes awareness of one's emotions, control of one's emotions, control of expression.

Analysis of coping strategies of police officers showed that in this group of subjects there are various options for coping behavior (Fig. 1).

About half of the sample of police officers (51 %) show problem-oriented coping behavior. The choice of problem-oriented coping depends on the possibility of an objective analysis of a specific problem task, its significance and complexity; from the assessment of coping resources necessary for coping with the stressor — knowledge, intellectual and physical data, family, friendly support, etc.

28 % of police in stressful situations resort to emotionally-oriented coping behavior. Emotion-oriented coping is a relatively adaptive strategy, focused on the emotional response of the situation. The most common emotional manifestations observed in this coping are: protest, optimism, suppression of emotions, humility, aggression, self-accusation. High performance on this strategy suggests a significant immersion in emotional experiences and inability to focus and focused analysis of the situation.

Coping «Avoidance» is observed in 21 % of subjects. This coping is the least constructive of the strategies outlined by N.S. Andler [9; 45]. There is a departure from cognitive analysis, emotional comprehension, and active behavioral actions. Avoidance includes active actions (substitution, compensation) and passive (solitude, fantasy).

Thus, police officers according to the criterion of success of coping can be divided into 3 groups: the first group — employees with adaptive problem-oriented coping behavior (51 %), the second group with relatively adaptive emotional coping (28 %) and the third — test subjects with a non-adaptive avoidance style of coping behavior (21 %).

A study of the characteristics of emotional intelligence reveals the following (Fig. 2):

Correlation analysis (Table) found that there are statistically significant links between coping behavior strategies and the emotional intelligence of the subjects.


In the course of the study, we identified a significant positive relationship between the coping problem orientation and a high level of ability to understand one's own (r = 0.383) and other people's emotions (r = 0.349), control one's emotions (r = 0.443) and a negative relationship with expression control (r = –0,299). Emotionally-oriented coping was positively associated with high expression control (r = 0.333), negatively associated with a low level of control with both its own (r = –0.319) and other people's emotions (r = –0.402). The coping strategy «Avoidance» turned out to be significantly positively associated with the understanding of one's emotions (r = 0.399), but negatively related to the ability to understand and control other people's emotions (r = –0.294) and control them (r = –0.288).

The choice of problem-oriented coping depends on the possibility of an objective analysis of a specific problem task, its significance and complexity; from the assessment of coping resources needed to cope with a stressor. Correlation analysis shows that the more meaningful for the subjects the ability to understand their own emotions and the emotions of the people around them, the more developed the problem-oriented coping, and the more optimal way to overcome stress. Awareness of their own experiences and reflections, their skillful correlation to the affective manifestations of other people are significant for police officers and contribute to the development of optimal behavior in a stressful situation [10; 48].

Table Correlation coefficients of r-Pearson coping adaptability indicators and components of emotional intelligence

Basic coping styles

Components of Emotional Intelligence

Understanding other people's emotions

Managing other people's emotions

Understanding own emotions

Manage own emotions

Expression control

Problem-oriented coping






Emotionally-oriented coping

- 0,402*



- 0,319*


The strategy of avoiding problems


- 0,288*




Note: «*» — Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

The higher the expression level of expression control, the stronger the emotional aspect of adaptation and the lower the level of coping behavior. High performance on this strategy suggests a significant immersion in emotional experiences and inability to focus and focused analysis of the situation. This leads to an increase in the emotional component of coping, to increased control over one's statements and feelings, and, consequently, to a decrease in the effectiveness of coping behavior.

The more developed the understanding of their emotional experiences, the higher the avoiding coping strategy, the more passive the staff in a stressful situation.

Analysis and interpretation of the results of the study lead to the following conclusion: the nature of professional motivation and the level of its formation significantly affect the success of employee behavior under stress. The data shows that the more professional and cognitive motives are formed, the more successful the coping. Coping behavior, focused on the successful resolution of a stressful situation, is determined by the focus on the development of professional competence, a high level of professionalism and cognitive motives.

Thus, the level of formation of emotional coping acts as a determining factor in the success of coping behavior. The results of the study showed that the hypothesis put forward by the authors was confirmed. The police officers with high coping potential are endowed with great opportunities for social and psychological adaptation in various conditions of activity, and also have more chances than to restore the functional state of the body and return to normal life after exposure to extreme situations.

Based on the results obtained in the course of the research, the following practical recommendations can be formulated for the formation of effective coping behavior strategies among police officers:

  1. When selecting employees to the ranks of law enforcement and human rights bodies and determining the professional suitability of employees, it seems appropriate to include in the program of diagnostics methods for identifying coping behavior of candidates in the series of these structures.
  2. The results of the study of coping behavior contribute to the timely identification and prevention of professional burnout, professional deformation and deviant behavior of police officers and legal professions. Therefore, monitoring of coping resources should be carried out at various stages of employee professionalization.
  3. In the work on the correction of the individual's coping behavior, it is recommended to use techniques aimed at developing adequate self-esteem, positive emotional attitudes towards their professional activities, and changing forms of emotional responses in stressful situations.
  4. The results of the dissertation research expand the theoretical and empirical basis of the research topic and can be included in the development of such disciplines as legal psychology, penitentiary psychology, psychology of professional development.



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Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Psychology