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Traumatic Stress in Police Officers: A Career-Length Assessment From Recruitment to Retirement

NCJ Number
Douglas Paton, Ph.D.; John M. Violanti, Ph.D.; Karena Burke, Ph.D.; Anne Gehrke, M.S.
Date Published
268 pages
This book demonstrates how adopting a career perspective can provide a more comprehensive conceptualization of traumatic stress processes as they apply to police officers and agencies as well as provides a framework that can be used to guide research and intervention agenda in ways that reflect the changes that can occur over the course of a police career.
If a comprehensive understanding of the nature and effectiveness of the police role in dealing with adverse trauma events is to be developed, it is necessary to empirically integrate such events into the police career path. The intent of this book was to develop a viable resource to explore interactive issues of trauma over the entire police career course. It draws upon empirical research to provide an evidence-based approach to traumatic stress risk management. The book begins with pre-employment experiences and their implications for operational well-being and concludes with a discussion of the implications of a police career for disengagement or retirement from this role. By conceptualizing critical incident stress risk as a process embedded in the life course, and in which dynamic organizational and social environments define the contexts in which police officers' life transitions take place, the contents of this book can serve both to facilitate resilience research and inform the process of incorporating the findings into the fabric of police organizational life. Areas of discussion include; incorporation of police trauma into a life-career course perspective, changing context and nature of police work, recruitment, selection, and socialization in the context of critical incident and terrorist work, changing gender balance, training in uncertain times, managing risk and vulnerability, organizational context, family dynamics, inter- and intra-organizational teams, health and mental health, consequences of long-term exposure to hazards, and disengagement and retirement. Tables, figures, references, and index