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Post-traumatic stress not as bad for some cops


Although police officers are under constant stress and are at risk of experiencing traumatic events in their work, they are no more likely to acquire post-traumatic stress disorder than anyone else. These are the findings of the Institut de recherché Robert-Sauve en santé et an securite du travail (IRSST). It’s the second phase of a study on the risk and protective factors of post-traumatic stress reaction in police officers, specifically in Quebec. The study also confirmed that PTSD can be prevented with specific and adapted intervention. Symptoms might 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 traumatic event improves the chances of preventing PTSD,” explained Andre Marchand, lead author and researcher at the Fernand-Sequin Research Centre of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital and Associate Professor at Universite de Montreal. “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 offer training programs,” said Marchand.

Police officers have different adaptation methods and startegies at their disposal in order to deal with traumatic events at work. The police officers in the study say that talking to their colleagues, obtaining peer support and taking part in leisure activities are crucial after an traumatic event. “The police officers involved in this study even advise their colleagues who experience theis kind of event to sconsult a psychologist and are themselves open to the idea of receiving psychological support if need be,” explain Melissa Martin, co-author and psychologist at the Trauma Study Centre at Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital.

The information gained from this study will help inform programs at other police divisions. The study could also have a positive effect on people working in other high stress and trauma event related fields.

Source: IRSST, MedicalNewsToday

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