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Annotated Bibliography on Police Officer Mental Health

Euwema, M. Kop, N. & Bakker, A. (2004). The behaviour of police officers in conflict situations: how burnout and reduced dominance contribute to better outcomes. Work and Stress. Vol. 18 (1) pp. 23-38.

2004 Dutch study of 358 police officers, it was interesting in how it showed after were followed for 122 days, it found that the “burnout” (depersonalization and emotional exhaustion) in which police officers often sustain, led to the finding of officers exhibiting less dominance with civilians and individuals in which they interacted with. Ultimately this had a positive effect on police outcomes, and showed positive consequences on professional behavior. While this study did not particularly fit what I was asking in the research question, it did offer a positive and alternative insight into a common psychological and emotional feeling experienced in the law enforcement community as a whole. Study was quantitative in nature.

 

Working Group, CIPSRT & Beshai, Shadi. (2016). Peer Support and Crisis-Focused Psychological Intervention Programs in Canadian First Responders: Blue Paper.

While this article did not directly cover the child crimes aspect of my research question, it does in fact cover the psychological stressors that law enforcement face day to day and in traumatic situations and as such applies to the overall support of my question and research. Article covers the operational stressors faced by all first responders, such as threats to ones life, death, violence, and the psychological issues which may be faced such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety, anger, and depression. It also looks at the lack of standardization and need for methodological designs and outcome measures to improve the crisis-psychological intervention programs and peer support programs. The study cited in the article used 10 researchers for a year period to study empirical literature which was international and national based regarding crisis-psychological intervention programs and peer support program effectiveness with first responders (fire, police, ems, and rescue personnel). Determination via the evidence reviewed found nothing which would suggest programs such as crisis-psychological intervention and/ or peer support programs were in any way harmful to those who participated in them when implemented and utilized within prescribed direction.  Additionally, it was found there was evidence these programs were often not implemented correctly or as they were intended. (CIPSRT & Beshai, Shadi. 2016). While this was overall a year long literature review followed by the use of an anonymous survey which was distributed to first responders throughout Canada. When specifically reviewing police officers, there was found to be no controlled studies/ trials identified which looked into the effectiveness of peer support programs and as such the results were descriptive in nature only and as a result the effectiveness is largely unknown in whether these programs are effective overall, however, they did note suicide rates in one showing had dropped by almost 80% by those in these programs. This was a mixed methods study.

 

Hartley, T. A., Violanti, J. M., Sarkisian, K., Andrew, M. E., & Burchfiel, C. M. (2013). PTSD symptoms among police officers: associations with frequency, recency, and types of traumatic events. International journal of emergency mental health, 15(4), 241-53.

A in depth five year study of 359 police officers involved in the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Stress Study (2004-2009) to determine the if the frequency, type, recency of specific types of stressors encountered and associated with police officers were associated with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms. Participants were measured using the civilian PTSD checklist also known as the PCL-C. The traumatic events encountered were measured using the PIS (Police Incident Survey). Both the PIS and PCL-C were then measured and evaluated using the analysis of covariance or ANCOVA. The PIS only accounted for having looked at eight areas of incident types and thus showed its limitations. The overall conclusions supported that women officers were 11 times more likely to suffer PTSD from traumatic events with increased exposure to events involving women and children, and that while no association of events and frequency in males was connected to PTSD symptoms, it did find that men who had witnessed events of severe assault had higher PTSD symptoms than those who witnessed the events months back. Additional long term assessments are needed and warranted which need to take into account traumatic life events and non-work factors and assessing prior trauma before entering employment into police work. This was a quantitative study.

 

Mitchell, J.T. (2003a). Crisis Intervention and Critical Incident Stress Management: Aresearch summary. Ellicott City, MD: International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

In “Crisis Intervention and Critical Incident Stress Management” by JT Mitchell (2003) he lists the 7 phase method in which using Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) within a 24-72 hour window was effective and amounted to “psychological first aid” for those affected. By using those personnel trained in teams as small as 2 and as big as 7 or so to facilitate the needs of the situation, affected personnel could be engaged and given the tools and methods needed to allow them to recover and get back into work without feeling left alone to deal with the traumatic experiences they have encountered. It was also not to be used solely as a standalone option and process for the administration and department who had affected personnel and would need the support of other programs and follow up services to be most effective. Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell created the original CISD in 1974 using a small group of paramedics, fire personnel and police officers. This is a qualitative study and program.

High–Resolution Brain SPECT Imaging and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing in Police Officers With PTSD, Karen Lansing , M.F.T, B.C.E.T.S., Daniel G. Amen , M.D., Chris Hanks , Ph.D., and Lisa Rudy , B.A. Published Online:1 Nov 2005, https://doi.org/10.1176/jnp.17.4.526

Study covered the assessment and treatment of six officers who had been involved in officer involved shootings, had developed delayed onset PTSD symptomology and subsequently had their brains scanned, and their PTSD treated via EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy. After undergoing of this therapy all participants were found to have reduced their PTSD scale scores and showed clinical improvement between their before and after scans. This is a quantitative method study.

Penny Dick (2000) The social construction of the meaning of acute stressors: A qualitative study of the personal accounts of police officers using a stress counselling service, Work & Stress, 14:3, 226-244,DOI: 10.1080/02678370010026422

This article struck home to me as I am currently using an employer sponsored counselling program. Article covered 35 officers who were using such services and how the method of policing was influencing stress being felt by the officers involved within their organizations and how the policing model was being put forth in their environments, thus leading to how they may believe they perceive themselves and/or how the community sees them. This was a qualitative study.

Gordon J. G. Asmundson PhD & Jennifer A. Stapleton (2008) Associations Between Dimensions of Anxiety Sensitivity and PTSD Symptom Clusters in Active‐Duty Police Officers, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 37:2, 66-75, DOI: 10.1080/16506070801969005

In this study, active police officers were largely made up of female participants (70%) of the 138 participants studied and just under 39 years of age on average. All individuals were active duty police officers. Some 44% of those involved scored for PTSD and all noted at least one episode/ event as being traumatic. This study looked for and was able to establish a correlation and link between anxiety sensitivity and post-traumatic stress disorder in these individual officers. The study found links between anxiety sensitivity, depression, and associated trauma had a hand in the severity of symptoms an individual initially experiences and potentially will re-experience with PTSD. This is a theoretical study.



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