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Peritraumatic and trait dissociation differentiate police officers with resilient versus symptomatic trajectories of posttraumatic stress symptoms



Peritraumatic and trait dissociation differentiate police officers with resilient versus symptomatic trajectories of posttraumatic stress symptoms



Journal of Traumatic Stress 24(5): 557-565



Research has consistently demonstrated that stress reactions to potentially traumatic events do not represent a unified phenomenon. Instead, individuals tend to cluster into prototypical response patterns over time including chronic symptoms, recovery, and resilience. We examined heterogeneity in a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom course in a sample of 178 active-duty police officers following exposure to a life-threatening event using latent growth mixture modeling (LGMM). This analysis revealed 3 discrete PTSD symptom trajectories: resilient (88%), distressed-improving (10%), and distressed-worsening (2%). We further examined whether trait and peritraumatic dissociation distinguished these symptom trajectories. Findings indicate that trait and peritraumatic dissociation differentiated the resilient from the distressed-improving trajectory (trait, p < .05; peritraumatic, p < .001), but only peritraumatic dissociation differentiated the resilient from the distressed-worsening trajectory (p < .001). It is essential to explore heterogeneity in symptom course and its predictors among active-duty police officers, a repeatedly exposed group. These findings suggest that police officers may be a highly resilient group overall. Furthermore, though there is abundant evidence that dissociation has a positive linear relationship with PTSD symptoms, this study demonstrates that degree of dissociation can distinguish between resilient and symptomatic groups of individuals.

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Accession: 054940093

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21898602

DOI: 10.1002/jts.20684


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