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Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 175–183 | Cite as

Predictors of Mental Health Stigma among Police Officers: the Role of Trauma and PTSD

  • Sara Soomro
  • Philip T. YanosEmail author
Article

Abstract

Police officers are both at risk of exposure to trauma and experiencing PTSD and are more likely to come into contact with people with mental illness than community members. As a result, the extent and predictors of mental health stigma is an issue of concern among police officers; however, little prior research on stigma has focused on police officers. The present study examined the predictors of mental health stigma among police officers, including the experience of trauma and PTSD symptoms. Active duty police officers (N = 296) were recruited through an online survey and completed measures of trauma exposure, PTSD symptoms, and a number of dimensions of stigma (negative stereotypes, attributions, intended behavior, and attitudes toward seeking help). Findings supported that police officers experience high rates of trauma exposure and higher rates of current PTSD than the general population. Endorsement of negative stereotypes about people with mental illness was higher among police officers than the general population. Contrary to what was expected, officers meeting criteria for current PTSD endorsed more stigma about mental illness, even when controlling for common demographic predictors of stigma, including gender and knowing someone with a mental illness. Findings have important implications for the training of police officers regarding mental illness.

Keywords

Stigma Help-seeking Police PTSD Trauma 

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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA

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