The traumatic events that police and firefighters are confronted with on a daily basis leaves them at an increased risk for mental disorders. Science Daily has reported on Feb. 26, 2013, Police and Firefighters at Higher Risk for Mental Disorders Following Traumatic Events. According to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, police, firefighters and other protective services workers who are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events, and those who are new to their profession are at an increased risk of developing a mental disorder.
The results of this study have been published in the February 2013 issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Christopher N. Kaufmann, MHS, lead author of the study, has said, “Our findings suggest that exposure to diverse types of traumatic events among protective services workers is a risk factor for new onset of psychopathology and alcohol use disorders. When we examined the relationship of exposure to common traumas with the development of mood, anxiety and alcohol use disorders among protective services workers, we found that these workers were at greater risk for developing a mood or alcohol use disorder. Interestingly, this relationship was not seen in those who had been in these jobs for a longer period, but was strong and statistically significant in workers who recently joined the profession.”
Science Codex has also reported on this study. In this study the association of exposure to common traumatic experiences with the development of new mood, anxiety and alcohol use disorders among protective services workers who recently joined the workforce and those who had been in these jobs for a longer period, was studied. The lifetime and recent trauma events which were most commonly reported by protective services workers included: “seeing someone badly injured or killed; unexpectedly seeing a dead body; having someone close die unexpectedly and having someone close experience a serious or life-threatening illness, accident or injury.”
Ramin Mojtabai, MD, PhD, MPH, senior author of the study, has said, “The association between the number of different traumatic event types and incident mood and alcohol-use disorders, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, was virtually confined to the group of early career protective services workers.” The researchers believe that special support programs and services for these early career workers can potentially help to prevent the development of chronic psychopathology.