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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An examination of police stressors and attitudes towards seeking psychological help Wlodyka, Arthur


Police work is frequently cited as a high stress occupation in which officers are reluctant to access psychological services. A number of recent suicides by law enforcement officers have illuminated the need for an investigation into the psychological support of police officers. The primary objectives of this study were to investigate police stress and officer attitudes towards mental health service providers, critical incident peer support programs, and psychoeducational training. Findings from the research of one hundred Lower Mainland area police officers revealed similar reported levels of stress to those found in other British Columbia law enforcement studies. Qualitative stress data further illuminated some of the unsparing trauma police officers are exposed to on a regular basis, as well as the profound impact on officers from external police conduct reviews. In this study officers held more positive attitudes towards professional psychological help as compared to the normative sample of college students, teachers, and two samples of American police officers. Officers further supported ongoing psychoeducational training as well as the implementation of mandatory counselling within their organizations. Implications and recommendations of these findings were discussed.

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