Naz, Sajida (2012) Police and Psychological Trauma: A Cross-Cultural, Mixed Methodological Study of How Police Cope With the Psychological Consequences of Their Work. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The current study explores cross-cultural issues related to coping styles, stress management, resilience, and sociocultural factors that impinge upon the lives of law enforcement professionals. Although a substantive amount of literature suggests the association between trauma exposure and psychological disturbance, there is scarcity in the literature in terms of understanding how police officers involved in traumatic work experience, cope and achieve resilient emotional reactions. In order to fill this gap in the literature, this cross cultural comparative study examined traumatic experiences of police officers in the specific forces of Pakistan and Britain. Main objectives of the study were to a) understand meaning of trauma, emotional reactions and coping b) understand type of traumatic events/experiences, and c) to find out predictors to effective coping and resilience in the two countries. It was a mixed methodological study, therefore preliminary interviews (n = 10) with senior police officers were analysed to develop a comprehensive police trauma survey in both countries. In addition to the self-developed scale, Conner Davidson Resilience Scale (CSDR-10) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) were used to measure resilience and mental health. Six hundred and thirteen police officers (300 from Pakistan and 313 from the UK) responded to the survey. Quantitative findings suggested significant mean differences on CSDR-10 suggesting that although both forces had adequate level of resilience, Pakistani police officers showed comparatively less resilience level than British police officers. Moreover, the findings suggested strong association between officers who were exposed to highly traumatic incidents and psychological impact. The trauma exposure and resulting psychological disturbance appeared to be strongly associated with both resilience and mental health scores. The qualitative aspect of the present study helped in developing a model of understanding trauma experiences and coping by looking at specific socio-religious norms and practices and their psychological impact. Such a cross cultural study can enhance the understanding of how coping can be improved and existing resources can be made robust enough to cope better within a diverse policing context. The importance of incorporating personal challenges of police officers while formulating plans for improving performance culture has been suggested. The proposed “trauma metabolic process model” (TMP) was tested using path analysis and can be applicable and useful in various clinical and organisational settings.

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