Qualitatively Unpacking Canadian Public Safety Personnel Experiences of Trauma and Their Well-Being [2018]

We thematically analysed responses volunteered by 828 of the nearly 9,000 public safety personnel (PSP) who participated in an online survey on occupational stress injuries and symptoms. Participants responded to an open-ended optional request for “additional feedback” located at the end of the survey. Salient response themes reveal that, across occupations and organizations, PSP report witnessing, enduring, and encountering extensive trauma, directly and vicariously, acutely and cumulatively. PSP reported effects of such trauma on themselves and their families as including physical (e.g., headaches, back pain, cardiac arrest, digestive symptoms), psychological (e.g., crying, feeling unhappy, living in fear, experiencing anxiety and anger), and social or interpersonal impacts (e.g., social exclusion, avoidance, cynicism towards others). The effects on their families included marital breakdown and relationship dissolution with children, as well as increased familial stress, strain, and anger. PSP also reported fatalistic attitudes; specifically, they felt that nothing would change, that they had no voice, and that both their employer and the different levels of government did not care about their well-being.

Rose Ricciardelli, R. Nicholas Carleton, Dianne Groll, Heidi Cramm

Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Volume 60 Issue 4, October 2018