Police at No Greater PTSD Risk Than General Public:
FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Police officers who have to
draw or fire their gun or use other weapons often report feeling
powerless, guilty, angry and fearful afterward, Canadian
But despite being at greater risk for experiencing such
traumatic events, police officers are no more likely to suffer from
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than the general population,
according to a new Canadian study published by the Occupational
Health & Safety Research Institute Robert-Sauve.
In the study, researchers evaluated 83 police officers in
Montreal and elsewhere who had experienced a traumatic event, such
as having to draw or fire their guns or use another type of
About 80 percent reported feeling powerless, while 59 percent
experienced intense fear. More than half were angry, 17 percent
were guilty and 2 percent said they felt shame over the event.
The study revealed that police officers have found different
ways to cope with work-related traumatic events, such as getting
support from their peers and taking part in leisure activities.
"The police offers involved in this study even advise their colleagues who experience this kind of event to consult a psychologist and are themselves open to the idea of receiving psychological support if need be," said the study's co-author, Melissa Martin, a psychologist at the Trauma Study Center at Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital, in a news release.
Researchers also said that symptoms of PTSD among police
officers, such as depression and dissociative reactions, can be
prevented by incorporating coping strategies into officer training
"Providing police officers with interventional support shortly after and in the weeks following a TE [traumatic events] improves the chances of preventing PTSD," said study lead author Andre Marchand, a researcher at the Fernand-Seguin Research Center of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital and an associate professor at Montreal University, in a university news release.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information
post-traumatic stress disorder.
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