PTSD Among Police Officers

Essay by UmmmHuhUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2009

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The two articles I chose focus on burnout and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among police officers. They were articles written about Dutch and Swedish officers. The study of burnout among police officers is a subject that little research has been done on. Burnout is comprised of a set of negative psychological experiences that cause a person to "wear out" from prolonged exposure to the stress of work. (Kop, N., Euwema, M., Schaufeli, W. 1999). The subject of burnout in general has been well researched among teacher, nurses, doctors and social workers (Kop, N., Euwema, M., Schaufeli, W. 1999). The main categories of stressors among police are the various aspects of the police work itself such as physical threat, violence and facing the unknown and secondly, organizational stressors such as management style, poor communications and lack of support from supervisors. (Kop, N., Euwema, M., Schaufeli, W. 1999).In this article on burnout, 358 Dutch police officers was given a self-report questionnaire.

They were asked to describe the things that were most stressful about their jobs. The results showed: 81% said staff shortages, 78% mentioned inadequate resources and 71% said work overload were among their highest stressors. A correlation of burnout and violence was found in this study. A tendency to show violence toward citizens is heightened among burned out officers because the citizens start being seen as impersonal objects rather than people due to cynicism associated with burn out and emotionally exhausted police officers have a tendency to revert to violence because they will lack the energy taken to solve the problem in a more constructive way. (Kop, N., Euwema, M., Schaufeli, W. 1999).

The second article was conducted on a group of Swedish police officers eighteen months after responding to a tragic fire at a youth discotheque in Goteborg, Sweden.