This study addressed the complex issues of stress management and treatment among law enforcement personnel and their families. The Tennessee Sheriffs' Association was awarded a grant to develop, demonstrate, and test innovative stress-reduction and support programs for state or local law enforcement personnel and their families. The program implemented a model for a stress reduction program at regional law enforcement training academies, and produced a text/workbook for educating new recruits and their families
on stress related topics. In addition, the program incorporated a monitoring and evaluation component, utilizing a design that attempted to test the efficacy of services provided to law enforcement personnel and their families.
A baseline survey was developed and randomly distributed to departments from each of three regions, West, Middle, and East, to officers in the state of Tennessee in early 1998 to identify the number and type of critical incidents they experienced in their career. The agencies from each region were matched based on demographics such as number of sworn officers. As part of this baseline survey, officers identified their knowledge of existing services available to them and their family members to deal with job-related stress, as well as their use and perceived willingness to use these services.
The Baseline Study distributed a questionnaire twice during the course of this project. To distinguish between the two distributions of the baseline questionnaire, Time 1 was used to identify the first baseline questionnaire, which was distributed prior to the initiation of any training program or use of CISD, Peer or Family Teams. Time 2 was used to identify the questionnaire that was distributed a second time at the completion of the project. The first baseline questionnaire, Time 1, was distributed to 4,036 law enforcement officers throughout the State of Tennessee. Questionnaire Time 2 was distributed to 3,519 officers.
The Critical Incident Stress Debriefing provided critical incident debriefing to officers and, in some instances, their families who experienced a critical incident. The questionnaires were used for collecting data at Time 1 (prior to the CISD), Time 2 (2-weeks after the CISD) and Time 3 (3-months after the CISD). By collecting information prior to the debriefing, a baseline of the officer's current state could be measured. The collection of data after two weeks allowed Peer Teams and Family Teams to interact with the officers prior to the second measure. Members of the Peer and Family Support Teams contacted officers one week after the debriefing. The 3-month period was used as the final collection primarily because a period of 3 months is a guideline offered by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994) for the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If the duration of symptoms is less than three months, the PTSD is specified as Acute. If the duration of symptoms is three months or more the PTSD is specified as Chronic.
Evaluation of C.I.S.D., Peer, and Family Teams Study identified the impact that the three Teams had on participants. Specifically participants' perception of the usefulness of the Teams and what was gained from their interaction with the Teams was to be measured. Initially, the Team evaluation forms were to be filled out by every individual who participated in a debriefing at the 2-week and 3-month periods. Asking participants to complete Team evaluations at these time periods would allow participants in the Middle region to have exposure to the Family Support and Peer Support Teams, and participants in the Eastern region to have exposure to a Peer Support Team. The procedure was modified so that Team evaluations were conducted at the completion of the project. The evaluation first asked the participant to identify if they had been contacted by a member of a Team (CISD, Peer, Family). Participants then rated on four items their perception of the Teams' effectiveness.
To provide an adequate representation of the Tennessee Law Enforcement, City, County, and State Agencies were randomly selected from the eastern, middle, and western regions of the State. To identify the effect of various assistance programs and the programs' impact on the awareness of services, willingness to use services and ability to assist officers and family members with critical incidents, the State of Tennessee was divided into three regions (i.e. East, Middle, West). All regions received the same baseline questionnaire that was developed and distributed to officers in a randomly selected number of departments from each of the three regions. The agencies from each region were matched based on demographics such as number of sworn officers. Each region, however, received different interventions to assist officers and family members with job related critical incidents. From a design point of view, it would have been beneficial for one region not to receive any assistance for critical incidents. This region would then have served as a control group for comparison to the other regions that received interventions. The decision was made that if the resource was available it should be made available to all officers in the state. This would prevent any possible harm to officers who had experienced a job related critical incident. In each region pre-test and post-test information were collected from officers who experienced a job related critical incident.
Tennessee law enforcement personnel in the 95 counties of the state of Tennesee and their families.
individuals and families
Variables from Dataset 1 include demographic information, sex, age, race, gender, etc. Participants were asked to identify their awareness of 19 services that may be offered by their agency as well as the utilization and willingness to use these services such as, counseling, marital and child support groups, stress reduction programs, and health and wellness programs. Variables also encompassed 22 critical incidents that may have been experienced by law enforcement officers such as, shooting someone in the line of duty, suicide of an officer who was a close friend, and suicide by police.
Variables from Dataset 2 and Dataset 3 include basic demographic information, such as sex, age, race, gender, etc. Other variables included symptoms associated with Post-traumatic Stress, job satisfaction, perceived change in their style of law enforcement, and perceived usefulness of debriefings to officers and family members. Participants also identified what services they and their family may have used such as, EAP, Counseling, Family Support Team, Peer Support Team, and Training Seminar. Certain health problems experienced since the incident and lost work time as a result of the incident are other included variables.
Variables from Dataset 4 include whether or not the participant was contacted by a member of a Team (CISD, Peer, Family). Participants rated on four items their perception of the Teams' effectiveness. Variables also included items that measured perceptions of what was gained from the Team in terms of awareness, skills, knowledge, and willingness to use resources.
The first baseline questionnaire, Time 1 was distributed to 4,036 law enforcement officers throughout the state of Tennessee. A total of 3,061 questionnaires were returned
resulting in a response rate of 75.8 percent. Questionnaire Time 2 was distributed to 3,519 officers. A total of 2,364 were returned resulting in a response rate of 67.2 percent.
Prior to CISD, information was collected from 197 officers. Two weeks later, information was collected from 102 officers. At the 3-month period, information was collected from only 30 officers. The 30 cases collected in Time 3 (3-months after CISD) provided less than 20 matches with Time 1 and Time 2.
Participants also completed a number of standardized scales which included the: Impact of Events Scale-Revised, IES-R, (Intrusion Sub-scale, Avoidance Sub-scale, Hyper-arousal Sub-scale) (Weiss and Marmar, 1996), Satisfaction with Life Scale, SWLS, (Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffin, 1985), and the Stress Sub-scale of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales, DASS, (Lovibond and Lovibond, 1995).