An evaluation of traumatic and organizational experiences on the psychological health of New Zealand police recruits

Work. 2007;28(3):199-207.


Police officers face the occupational hazard of repeated exposure to traumatic stressors. Additionally, as for employees of any large organization, they are subjected to routine organizational stressors in the workplace. Although police work is generally believed to be inherently stressful, very little is known of the impact of the police organization upon officers' psychological well-being. This study evaluated the impact on psychological health of both traumatic and organizational police experiences. Baseline measures of prior traumatic experiences, and psychological health were established at point of entry for 512 police recruits. One year later, the impact of police related trauma and organizational events was assessed. Multiple regression analyses determined that while both traumatic events and organizational stressors affected psychological distress, organizational stressors had the strongest effect, including the exacerbation of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. The main implication of these findings is that traumatic stress is a hazard for police officers, but the importance of daily organizational stressors must also be taken into account.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand
  • Police*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*