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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 128113 Find in a Library
Title: After the Gun Goes Off
Journal: State Peace Officers Journal  Dated:(Summer 1990)  Pages:90-93,95
Author(s): K J Bettinger
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 5
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: For police officers, postshooting trauma (PST) involves internalizing the stress, fear, anxiety, and confusion that occur after a shooting.
Abstract: There are many symptoms of PST, including sleep pattern disturbances, nightmares, hallucinations, flashbacks, distortions, isolation and withdrawal, alcoholism, overeating, promiscuity, and abuse of sick time. Nearly two-thirds of police officers involved in shootings suffer some significant form of PST, 20 percent of officers involved in a shooting are divorced within 1 year, between 9 and 30 percent experience some form of sexual dysfunction after being involved in a shooting, and 70 percent leave law enforcement within 5 years of a shooting incident. Isolation caused by PST can affect job performance and family relationships and can result in self-destructive behavior. Some officers also experience self-doubt, become unduly cynical, or engage in compulsive behavior. Responsibilities of spouses and fellow police officers in recognizing and dealing with PST are examined. Deep relaxation and peer counseling techniques are suggested to help police officers overcome PST. Steps for handling officer-involved shootings are outlined as well as guidelines for critical incident stress debriefings.
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD)
Index Term(s): Family support; Marital problems; Stress management
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