Stress reactions in police officers after a disaster rescue operation

Nord J Psychiatry. 2002;56(1):7-14. doi: 10.1080/08039480252803855.

Abstract

This study intended to determine the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and to report subjective well-being, general distress, and social functioning among police officers 18 months after a rescue operation during a fire at a discotheque. Emotional responses, including self-reported reactions, recorded during and after the fire were analysed. Forty-one police officers participated in the study. They completed a questionnaire and a battery of self-report measures. Psychological distress was recorded using the PTSS-10, IES-R, and GHQ-28. The three scales had a high internal consistency. The police officers were not unaffected by their experiences, and a few officers were still under stress. One police officer had IES-R intrusion and an avoidance score greater than 20, suggesting a stress reaction of clinical significance. When compared with the PTSS-10 scale, two (5%) officers showed a high level of psychological distress. Measured with the GHQ-28, three officers (7%) still had a high level of psychological distress. On one of the four different subscales most of the officers show various degrees of reduced social functioning. Debriefing was carried out by the police department after the fire, and 75% thought debriefing was positive. Eighteen months after the disaster a few police officers are still under stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fires
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Police*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Rescue Work*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors