Posttraumatic distress and growth: an empirical study of police officers

Am J Psychother. 2010;64(1):55-72. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.2010.64.1.55.


Few studies have examined the experience of posttraumatic growth, among police officers following traumatic incidents. Additionally, research examining the relationship between posttraumatic distress (e.g., posttraumatic symptoms) and posttraumatic growth among various populations has been inconsistent. Consistent with the need to gain enhanced understanding in the area of posttraumatic growth, this study investigated the relation between posttraumatic distress (using the Impact of Events Scale-Revised) and posttraumatic growth (using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory) among 183 police officers. Results of Pearson Correlations showed that posttraumatic distress was significantly and positively related to the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory full-scale and all sub-scale scores. Multiple regression analyses revealed that being involved in a duty-related shooting was the most significant predictor of posttraumatic growth. Implications for mental health providers are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Police*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology