Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 6 > Salivary Measures of Stress and Immunity in Police Officers...
Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181e129da
Original Articles

Salivary Measures of Stress and Immunity in Police Officers Engaged in Simulated Critical Incident Scenarios.

Groer, Maureen PhD; Murphy, Randall MSM; Bunnell, William MBA; Salomon, Kristin PhD; Van Eepoel, Jeanne BS; Rankin, Blake; White, Kristi BS; Bykowski, Cathy BS

Continued Medical Education
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Objective: This research investigated the effects of a critical incident lethal force scenario on a panel of salivary biomarkers, measured at baseline and then at 10 and 30 minutes postscenario, in 141 law enforcement volunteer officers.

Methods: Officers were randomly assigned to two virtual reality scenarios. One scenario was brief and involved a police officer chasing a suspect on a motorcycle, confronting the suspect who draws a gun and shoots the police officer. The other scenario involved a lengthy chase by the police officer through a workplace of an armed perpetrator ultimately engaging in gunfire with the police officer. Saliva was analyzed for cortisol, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), interleukin-6, and alpha-amylase concentrations.

Results: The “workplace” scenario produced the largest responses in biomarkers, with significant rises in cortisol, interleukin-6, alpha-amylase, and secretory immunoglobulin A. These data suggest that virtual reality can produce stress and immune effects.

Conclusions: This research suggests that virtual reality scenarios produce physiologic stress responses, mimicking occupational stress.

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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