Police Trauma and Rorschach Indicators: An Exploratory Study

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Abstract

This study is the first to our knowledge to focus on posttraumatic symptomatology among crime scene investigators (CSIs) and explore its relationship with their personality functioning as measured by Rorschach. Considering that posttraumatic symptomatology can affect decision-making, which is of crucial importance in police work, police officers’ evaluations should include an assessment of trauma-related impairments.

The study was carried out on a sample of 64 male CSIs (85% of all Slovene CSIs). Posttraumatic symptomatology was found to be more frequent among CSIs than among the general population. Avoidance appears to be a predominant personality characteristic defending CSIs from emotionally overwhelming work situations. CSIs show less conventional, but still appropriate, cognitive mediation; however, a more detailed analysis indicates that the group with the highest posttraumatic symptomatology exhibits severely disrupted mediational processes, presumably because of negative affect.

Rorschach was found to be a suitable method for such assessments, particularly because it unfolds psychological functioning related to traumatic experience but not necessarily linked to symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and not necessarily recognized by the traumatized individual.

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