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Post-traumatic stress risk to police officers lower than previously thought
Date:11/21/2011

This press release is available in French.

Although police officers are at a high risk of experiencing traumatic events (TE) in their work, they are no more likely than the general population to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These are the findings from the second phase of an original and groundbreaking study published by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauv en sant et en scurit du travail (IRSST) on the risk and protective factors of post-traumatic stress reactions in Quebec police officers.

This study also confirms that symptoms associated with the development of PTSD in police officers can be attenuated or prevented with specific and adapted intervention. These symptoms include dissociative reactions, emotional and physical reactions, a state of acute stress, depressive symptoms, and emotional coping responses to stress. "Providing police officers with interventional support shortly after and in the weeks following a TE improves the chances of preventing PTSD," explained Andr Marchand, lead author of the study, researcher at the Fernand-Seguin Research Centre of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital and Associate Professor at Universit de Montral. "The strategies for adapting to trauma, such as developing a stress-resistant personality and obtaining social support, can be improved through prevention components of police officer training programs," said Mr. Marchand.

The descriptive analysis results show that police offers have different adaptation methods and strategies at their disposal in order to deal with a critical work-related event. In fact, the police officers stated that talking to their colleagues, obtaining peer support and taking part in leisure activities are particularly helpful after a TE. "The police offers involved in this study even advise their colleagues who experience this kind of event to consult a psycholog
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Contact: William Raillant-Clark
w.raillant-clark@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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