skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 219666 Find in a Library
Title: Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Cortisol Patterns Among Police Officers
Journal: Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management  Volume:30  Issue:2  Dated:2007  Pages:189-202
Author(s): John M. Violanti; Michael Andrew; Cecil M. Burchfiel; Tara A. Hartley; Luenda E. Charles; Diane B. Miller
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This pilot study was designed to identify biomarkers of stress, in this case, salivary cortisol response patterns, and psychosocial factors in the high stress occupation of police work.
Abstract: The results indicated a relationship and interactions among reported posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and cortisol patterns found across all four cortisol testings. The relationship between PTSD symptoms and the salivary cortisol response patters were observed at four different times: (1) at awakening; (2) after a high protein meal challenge; (3) over the course of the day; and (4) after taking a low dosage (0.5 mg) of dexamethasone at bedtime--a dexamethasone suppression test (DST). The cortisol patterns found in this study suggest “allostatic load” in which failure to initiate or shut off mediators under conditions of chronic or acute stress leads to hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) dysregulation. This HPA dysregulation may include overreactivity, exaggerated startle response, sleep disruption, and nightmares. These symptoms lead to a high level of morbidity even after retirement. The findings underscore the importance of future research on the impact of stress on police personnel and other first responder groups. Participants were 92 police officers who were randomly sampled from the entire Buffalo, New York Police Department, which comprised 934 officers at the time of sampling. Participants completed a measure of their psychological symptoms and their cortisol was measured in saliva under the four conditions outlined above using Salivettes to collect their saliva. A baseline saliva sample was also taken from each participant. ANCOVA was used to analyze the relationships between cortisol levels and PTSD symptom categories. Tables, figures, references
Main Term(s): Biological influences; Police occupational stress
Index Term(s): Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD)
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.