Posttraumatic stress symptoms in police staff 12-18 months after the Canterbury Earthquakes.
Understanding posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in police first-responders is an underdeveloped field. Using a cross-sectional survey, this study investigated demographic and occupational characteristics, coping resources and processes, along with first-responder roles and consequences 18 months following a disaster. Hierarchical linear regression (N = 576) showed that greater symptom levels were significantly positively associated with negative emotional coping (β = .31), a communications role (β = .08) and distress following exposure to resource losses (β = .14), grotesque scenes (β = .21), personal harm (β = .14), and concern for significant others (β = .17). Optimism alone was negatively associated (β=−15), with the overall model being a modest fit (adjusted R2 = .39). The findings highlight variables for further study in police.