Gender Differences in Attitudes Toward Police Use of Tasers Following the Dziekanski Case


  • David R. Mandel

    Corresponding author
    1. DRDC Toronto and York University
    • Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David R. Mandel, Ph.D., DRDC Toronto, 1133 Sheppard Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario M3K 2C9, Canada, Tel: (416) 635-2000 ext.3146 [e-mail:].

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  • The author thanks Quan Lam and Oshin Vartanian for their research assistance.


Prior research has shown that men and women respond differently on a variety of behavioral, attitudinal, and affective measures related to agentic and communal interpersonal orientation, yet research on such measures seldom disaggregates findings by gender. The present study examined how gender moderated a range of affective and cognitive responses to an important social and policy issue—police use of Tasers. The study followed the Dziekanski case in which an émigré to Canada died after being repeatedly stunned with a Taser by police officers. Compared to men, women were significantly more opposed to police Taser use, they were likelier to blame police for Dziekanski's death, and they reported stronger emotional responses to the case. The findings extend support for the view that men and women exhibit different patterns of response to situations that evoke communal values, and they highlight the importance of theoretical guidance in disaggregating responses in opinion research.