Posttraumatic Growth in Relation to the Frequency and Severity of Traumatic Experiences Among Police Officers in Small to Midsize Departments.

Affiliation

Kent State University at Stark, North Canton, OH, USA [Email]

Abstract

The Critical Incident History Questionnaire (CIHQ) measures, through multiple measurement methods, the severity and frequency of traumatic events experienced by law enforcement officers. We, however, found no studies utilizing the CIHQ to examine posttraumatic growth (PTG) as measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory. The purpose of this brief report was to assess the strength and direction of the relationships between PTG with trauma frequency, trauma severity, and health variables, including subjective traumatic stress, relationship stress, nontraumatic work stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, depression, and alcohol use among law enforcement officers (N = 193) from small and midsize agencies. In addition, we sought to explore differences between cognitive and behavioral PTG. Based on results from bivariate and multivariate analyses, we found that an idiosyncratic view of trauma severity shaped by personal experience demonstrated the strongest relationship with PTG among the frequency and severity variables and that increased PTG was not associated with reduced psychological distress. Alcohol use, a variable that is assessed primarily through behaviors compared with cognitions, was not significantly associated with PTG. Overall, the findings of this study demonstrate the importance for future research to consider both the frequency and severity of trauma exposure in the development of PTG and its impact on health outcomes.

Keywords

Critical Incident History Questionnaire,PTSD,police,posttraumatic growth,stress,trauma,