Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name







The present study was designed to compare a subjective, probabilistic measure of career plateau with a traditional, tenure-based measure and to examine the effect of career plateau on self-efficacy expectancies (Bandura, 1977), coping strategies (Lazurus & Folkman, 1984), and job outcomes (stress symptoms, job dissatisfaction, job apathy, and organizational detachment). A personal-development definition of the career plateau as constituting part of a career transition was proposed as well as a stress-coping model of career plateau transition. The study involved the development of two multidimensional measures of self-efficacy expectancies (midcareer decision-making and police duties) and a multidimensional measure of career coping strategies (work-role centred, decision-making, wishful avoidance, support-seeking, minimization.) A total of 553 police officers from a large decentralized Canadian police force were separated into five career status categories on the basis of a combination of their self-judgements of the probability of attaining their career goals (nonplateaued, 80%-100%, plateauing, 40%-70%, and probably plateaued, 0-30%; n = 407) and self-selection (plateaued and basic career; n = 146). The data supported the hypothesis that the subjective measure of career plateau explained a significant amount of the variance in each job outcome measure beyond that which was explained by several covariates (rank, rank tenure, position tenure, times competed, off-job stress, and social desireability) and two tenure-based measures combined. In addition, the data showed that as perceptions of career plateauing increased, self-efficacy expectations and work-role career coping behaviours decreased, and levels of stress symptoms and negative job/organizational attitudes increased. Preliminary support for the stress-coping model of the career plateau transition was found. The data showed that the effect of the career plateau on stress symptoms was entirely mediated by both types of self-efficacy expectancies and by three of the five coping strategies. The data also revealed a direct effect of career plateau on negative job/organizational attitudes as well as an effect mediated through decision-making and work-role competency domains.