Negative Acts in the Courtroom: Characteristics, Distribution, and Frequency among a National Cohort of Danish Prosecutors

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Abstract

Danish prosecutors report exposure to negative acts from professional counterparts in courtrooms, which is associated with an increased risk of burnout. However, knowledge of the characteristics of these acts is limited. Based on existing theoretical frameworks, this study aims to characterize these negative acts. A nation-wide survey of Danish prosecutors (response rate: 81%) yielded 687 descriptions of experiences with negative acts from professional counterparts from a career perspective. These were analyzed using theory-directed content analysis based on the Stress-as-Offense-to-Self (SOS) theory by Semmer and colleagues and Cortina and colleagues’ characterization of incivility in American courtrooms. We identified a total of 15 types of behavior within the three main themes: illegitimate tasks (n = 22), illegitimate stressors (n = 68), and illegitimate behavior (n = 612). Tentative differences in the distribution of experienced negative acts from a career perspective were found for gender and seniority. Women reported negative acts more frequently than men, and assistant prosecutors reported verbal abuse more frequently than senior prosecutors, who, conversely, more often reported a perceived lack of court management. More prospective research is needed on negative acts experienced by prosecutors to assess the scope of these in Danish courtrooms and how they impact the risk of burnout.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer332
TidsskriftBehavioral Sciences
Vol/bind14
Udgave nummer4
Antal sider17
ISSN2076-328X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - apr. 2024

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