The Role of Moral Injury in PTSD Among Law Enforcement Officers: A Brief Report.
ABSTRACT: Exposure to critical incidents and hence potentially traumatic events is endemic in law enforcement. The study of law enforcement officers' experience of moral injury and their exposure to potentially morally injurious incidents, and research on moral injury's relationship with different forms of traumatization (e.g. compassion fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder) are in their infancy. The present study aims to build on prior research and explores the role of moral injury in predicting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its clusters thereof. To this end, a sample of law enforcement officers (N = 370) from the National Police of Finland was recruited to participate in the current study. Results showed that moral injury significantly predicted PTSD as well as its diagnostic clusters (i.e., avoidance, hyperarousal, re-experiencing). The aforementioned role of moral injury to significantly predict PTSD and its clusters were unequivocal even when compassion fatigue was incorporated into the path model. Clinical, research, and law enforcement practice implications are discussed.
Project description:This research builds on three decades of effort to produce national estimates of the amount and rate of force used by law enforcement officers in the United States. Prior efforts to produce national estimates have suffered from poor and inconsistent measurements of force, small and unrepresentative samples, low survey and/or item response rates, and disparate reporting of rates of force. The present study employs data from a nationally representative survey of state and local law enforcement agencies that has a high survey response rate as well as a relatively high rate of reporting uses of force. Using data on arrests for violent offenses and the number of sworn officers to impute missing data on uses of force, we estimate a total of 337,590 use of physical force incidents among State and local law enforcement agencies during 2012 with a 95 percent confidence interval of +/- 10,470 incidents or +/- 3.1 percent. This article reports the extent to which the number and rate of force incidents vary by the type and size of law enforcement agencies. Our findings demonstrate the willingness of a large proportion of law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report the amount of force used by their officers and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) program to produce nationally representative information about police behavior.
Project description:PURPOSE:The purpose of this paper is to examine the situational and individual officer characteristics of officer-involved vehicle collisions that result in fatality, injury, and non-injury outcomes. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH:Data on 35,840 vehicle collisions involving law enforcement officers in California occurring between January 2000 and December 2009 are examined. A descriptive analysis of collision characteristics is presented. FINDINGS:There were 39 officers killed by collisions over this study period and 7,684 officers who received some type injury. Incidents involving officers on motorcycles represented 39 percent of officer fatalities and 39 percent of severe injuries. In the case of fatalities, 33 percent of officers were reported as wearing seatbelts, 38 percent were not wearing a seatbelt, and seatbelt use was not stated in 29 percent of car fatalities. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS:The findings only represent one state and the analysis is based on an estimated 86 percent of collisions that occurred during the study period due to missing data. Nonetheless, the results are based on a robust sample and address key limitations in the existing literature. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS:During the study period in California the estimated financial impact of collisions reached into the hundreds of millions of dollars when considering related fatality, injury, and vehicle damage costs combined. These impacts highlight the need for the law enforcement community to give greater attention to this issue. ORIGINALITY/VALUE:At the time of this writing there was no published independent research that compares the situational and officer characteristics across fatality, injury, and non-injury outcomes in these events. The findings reported here will help inform emerging interest in this issue within the law enforcement, academic, and policy-making communities.
Project description:We examine whether retaliatory violence exists between law enforcement and citizens while controlling for any social media contagion effect related to prior fatal encounters. Analyzed using a trivariate dynamic structural vector-autoregressive model, daily time-series data over a 21-month period captured the frequencies of police killed in the line of duty, police deadly use of force incidents, and social media coverage. The results support a significant retaliatory violence effect against minorities by police, yet there is no evidence of retaliatory violence against law enforcement officers by minorities. Also, social media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement increases the risk of fatal victimization to both law enforcement officers and minorities. Possible explanations for these results are based in rational choice and terror management theories.
Project description:Exposure to morally injurious events may have a severe, prolonged negative impact on psychosocial functioning, known as moral injury (MI). Research into the prevalence of MI has mostly focused on event exposure rather than on psychosocial impact. Also, the relationship between MI and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains a matter of interest. The aim of this study was to identify MI and PTSD symptom profiles among trauma-exposed, treatment-seeking police officers and military veterans, and to explore demographic and clinical differences between symptom profiles. Latent class and multinomial regression analyses were conducted in a sample of 1,703 participants, using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 and the Brief Symptom Inventory. Four classes of participants were identified, labeled as a <i>MI</i> class (<i>n</i> = 192; 11.27%), a <i>MI-PTSD</i> class (<i>n</i> = 565; 33.18%), a <i>PTSD</i> class (<i>n</i> = 644; 37.82%), and a <i>Neither MI-nor PTSD</i> class (<i>n</i> = 302; 17.73%), resulting in 44.45% (<i>n</i> = 757) of participants who met an MI symptom profile with or without PTSD. There were significant differences between the classes in terms of gender as well as PTSD and comorbid psychopathology symptom severity, the latter of which was highest in the MI-PTSD class. In conclusion, a substantial subgroup of trauma-exposed, treatment-seeking police officers and military veterans could be classified as suffering from MI. Routinely screening for MI in treatment-seeking police officers and military veterans is recommended, and interventions aimed at relieving MI in these populations may be indicated.