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Understanding the experience of border patrol agents: a qualitative study

1 January 2015


The purpose of this qualitative dissertation was to gain a greater understanding of the lived experience of border patrol agents from the Yuma, Arizona, sector of the Border Patrol Agency. I used a criterion-based strategy to find participants. I conducted semi-structured, in-person interviews with one Mexican American and four Caucasian male participants with a mean age of 35.4 years. The mean number of years of employment as a Border Patrol agent was 8.2 years. I designed the study and analyzed the interview transcripts using the Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (ITP), which focused on understanding the phenomenon. I found two main themes: Rewards and Hardships. The theme of Rewards included six subthemes - Support, Helping Others, Ensuring National Security, Salary, Excitement, and Job Satisfaction. The Hardship theme included six subthemes - Lack of Support, Isolation, Physical Environment, Politics, Public Scrutiny, and Shift Work. The specific rewards and hardships are at times contrasting and may overlap.


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