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Pub. Type:
Line-of-Duty Death: Posttraumatic Stress Reaction in Survivors and Departmental Policies
Subtitle/Series Name:
Pub. Date:
Results of a study of surviving spouses revealed a variety of symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PSD). These included re-experiencing the event; emotional numbness; loss of enjoyment; reduced capacity to express affect; and experiencing other emotional, cognitive, and psychological difficulties. In subjects experiencing PSD, the most severely affected area of psychological functioning was an increase in behaviors related to phobic anxiety. Contrary to commonly held assumptions, type of death (accidental versus felonious) did not affect survivors' reactions. However, notification procedures and time married did significantly affect distress levels of survivors. Reactions were more severe among those not notified in person and those married fewer than 10 years. Further, while grief reactions are assumed to be time-limited reactions, significant psychopathology was evidenced by many of these survivors even 2 years after the death. Results suggest that the police culture and police notification procedures and policies emphasizing concrete action may contribute to the severity of grief reactions and the high incidence of PSD in this group of survivors. source
NCJ 103740
United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
Place of Production:
Washington, DC

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