Gender and Age Differences in Trauma and PTSD Among Dutch Treatment-Seeking Police Officers

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Abstract

Little is known about how age and gender are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and traumatic experiences in treatment-seeking police offers. In this study, we examined 967 diagnostic files of police officers seeking treatment for PTSD. Six hundred twelve (63%) of the referred police officers were diagnosed with PTSD (n = 560) or partial PTSD (n = 52). Police officers reported on average 19.5 different types of traumatic events (range 1–43). Those who experienced a greater variety of traumatic events suffered from more PTSD symptoms. Also, women reported more often direct life-threatening or private events as their index trauma than men and suffered from more PTSD symptoms than their male colleagues. Results indicate that police officers experience a considerable number of different traumatic events, which is significantly associated with PTSD symptoms. The results highlight the importance of early detection of PTSD symptoms in the police force.

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