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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181638685
Original Articles

Mental Health Outcomes in Police Personnel After Hurricane Katrina

West, Christine RN, MSN/MPH; Bernard, Bruce MD, MPH; Mueller, Charles MS; Kitt, Margaret MD, MPH; Driscoll, Richard PhD, MPH; Tak, Sangwoo ScD, MPH

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Abstract

Objective: We examined symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) personnel who provided law enforcement and relief services to affected communities following Hurricane Katrina.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of mental health outcomes related to personal and work-related exposures of police personnel 8 weeks after the Hurricane.

Results: Of the 912 police personnel who completed the questionnaire, 227 (26%) reported symptoms consistent with depression and 170 (19%) reported symptoms consistent with PTSD. Risk factors associated with PTSD include recovery of bodies, crowd control, assault, and injury to a family member. Depressive symptoms were associated with rare family contact, uninhabitable home, isolation from the NOPD, assault, and injury to a family member.

Conclusions: Police personnel reported symptoms of PTSD and depression associated with work-related and personal factors following Hurricane Katrina.

©2008The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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