Report

The prevention of trauma reactions in police officers: decreasing reliance on drugs and alcohol

25 Sep 2013
Description

The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a resilience training program designed specifically to help new-recruit police officers mitigate stress reactions and the use of drugs and alcohol.

Background

Exposure to traumatic or stressful events has for some time been linked to symptoms of trauma in a minority of individuals. Although there have been many studies examining the nature and aetiology of trauma reactions, few researchers have examined whether it is possible to prevent reactions to trauma. This is somewhat surprising, given the impact that an adverse trauma reaction can have on both an individual and an organisation (if the individual is also an employee). Those at risk of exposure to traumatic events by virtue of their occupation stand to receive significant benefit from learning to manage their reactions to such events. Such a group is the police force, whose officers routinely face traumatic, sad and stressful incidents in the course of their careers.

The overall aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a resilience training program designed specifically to help new-recruit police officers mitigate stress reactions and the use of drugs and alcohol. The objectives pursued by the research team were a pointed response to the current information gap in the existing literature. There were four specific project objectives:

1. Undertake a literature review of the national and international evidence in relation to pre-event interventions designed to mitigate psychological stress reactions following exposure to a stressful event.

2. Design a pre-event intervention designed to mitigate psychological stress reactions following exposure to a stressful event.

3. Trial the pre-event intervention (resilience training) with a population at high risk of being exposed to a stressful event (police officers).

4. Collect pre-intervention, post-intervention and follow-up data as a means of evaluating the effectiveness of the intervention.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2013
113
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