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Gender and Age Differences in Trauma and PTSD Among Dutch Treatment-Seeking Police Officers

van der Meer, Christianne A.I. MSc; Bakker, Anne PhD; Smit, Annika S. PhD; van Buschbach, Susanne MSc; den Dekker, Melissa MSc; Westerveld, Gré J. MSc; Hutter, Renée C. MSc; Gersons, Berthold P.R. PhD; Olff, Miranda PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2017 - Volume 205 - Issue 2 - p 87–92
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000562
Original Articles

Little is known about how age and gender are associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and traumatic experiences in treatment-seeking police offers. In this study, we examined 967 diagnostic files of police officers seeking treatment for PTSD. Six hundred twelve (63%) of the referred police officers were diagnosed with PTSD (n = 560) or partial PTSD (n = 52). Police officers reported on average 19.5 different types of traumatic events (range 1–43). Those who experienced a greater variety of traumatic events suffered from more PTSD symptoms. Also, women reported more often direct life-threatening or private events as their index trauma than men and suffered from more PTSD symptoms than their male colleagues. Results indicate that police officers experience a considerable number of different traumatic events, which is significantly associated with PTSD symptoms. The results highlight the importance of early detection of PTSD symptoms in the police force.

*Academic Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Amsterdam; †Police Academy, Apeldoorn; ‡Foundation Centrum ‘45, Oegstgeest/Diemen; §Center for Psychological Trauma, Diemen; and ∥Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group, Diemen, the Netherlands.

Send reprint requests to Christianne A.I. van der Meer, MSc, Academic Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 5, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: c.a.meervander@amc.uva.nl.

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