Risk factors for posttraumatic stress symptomatology in police officers: a prospective analysis

J Nerv Ment Dis. 1997 Aug;185(8):498-506. doi: 10.1097/00005053-199708000-00004.


This study examines internal and external risk factors for posttraumatic stress symptoms in 262 traumatized police officers. Results show that 7% of the entire sample had PTSD, as established by means of a structured interview; 34% had posttraumatic stress symptoms or subthreshold PTSD. Trauma severity was the only predictor of posttraumatic stress symptoms identified at both 3 and 12 months posttrauma. At 3 months posttrauma, symptomatology was further predicted by introversion, difficulty in expressing feelings, emotional exhaustion at time of trauma, insufficient time allowed by employer for coming to terms with the trauma, dissatisfaction with organizational support, and insecure job future. At 12 months posttrauma, posttraumatic stress symptoms were further predicted by lack of hobbies, acute hyperarousal, subsequent traumatic events, job dissatisfaction, brooding over work, and lack of social interaction support in the private sphere. Implications of the findings regarding organizational risk factors are discussed in the light of possible occupational health interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Introversion, Psychological
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Occupational Health
  • Police / statistics & numerical data*
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology