Aug 31

Debriefing, Social Support and PTSD in the New Zealand Police

 

Abstract

Organisations whose workers risk traumatic exposure, are increasingly interested in preventing sequelae such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A common intervention is the provision of psychological debriefing following trauma. In accordance with recent criticisms of this approach, Harvey (1996) has proposed a multidimensional model of trauma recovery. The present study tested some of the person, event and environmental variables in the model with 527 New Zealand police officers who responded to a questionnaire survey of trauma and social support at work. The results showed no differences in PTSD symptoms between officers who had and those who had not been debriefed. However, greater social support and opportunities to talk about traumatic experiences and their emotional impact, with others in the work place, were shown to be related to fewer PTSD symptoms. The findings support current suggestions that organisational post-trauma interventions should be developed take into account social environmental factors and recovery needs over time. More…..

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