Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



Previous studies have examined the relationships between various demographic characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, prior arrest experience, residential living area, political affiliation) and various measures of attitudes toward police (e.g., trustworthiness, legitimacy; Brown & Benedict, 2002; Hindelang, 1974; Rizer & Trautman, 2018; Schuck et al., 2008). However, a measure of overall general attitudes toward police has not been established. The main goal of the present research was to fill this gap in the literature by creating and validating a brief questionnaire that effectively captures respondents’ general attitudes toward police. In Study 1, a brief 14-item questionnaire that captured general attitudes toward police was created, the General Attitudes Toward Police (GAP) Questionnaire. Study 2 tested the predictive validity of the 14-item questionnaire by analyzing the relationship between participants’ scores on the questionnaire and their judgments of police officer use of force while also controlling for various demographic variables that have been established in the literature as strong predictors of attitudes toward police (race/ethnicity, prior arrest experience, residential living area, political affiliation). It is my hope that the GAP questionnaire will be useful regarding future research on attitudes toward police as well useful for measuring the general public’s attitudes toward police before and after police policy changes.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Melissa Baker, Ph.D.


Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Psychology