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Personal and organizational predictors of posttraumatic adaptation and growth in police officers

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by D Paton, Karena BurkeKarena Burke
Police officers are in the front line for exposure to critical incidents. This paper argues that while critical incidents can challenge psychological equilibrium, this circumstance should be conceptualized as a catalyst for change rather than as an automatic precursor of posttraumatic pathology. Following a discussion of the relationship between posttraumatic growth and future adaptive capacity, evidence supporting two approaches to examining the relationship between critical incident experience and salutary outcomes is reviewed. One considers how police officers’ mental models can be developed prior to exposure to increase their adaptive capacity and reduce the likelihood of an experience becoming a critical incident in the first place. The second accommodates the fact that officers will continue to experience novel, unexpected, challenging incidents, and discusses how personal, team and organizational factors interact to render challenging experiences coherent and meanings. The notion of conceptualizing the relationship between traumatic experience and growth and adaptive capacity as a form of punctuated equilibrium is discussed, as is the need to include non-traumatic challenging events in the assessment of posttrauma outcomes in police populations.

History

Issue

2007-1

Start Page

1

End Page

16

Number of Pages

16

eISSN

1174-4707

Location

New Zealand

Publisher

Massey University

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

University of Tasmania;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Australasian journal of disaster and trauma studies.