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0027 Life Events and Psychological Distress among Police Officers Six Years Post Hurricane Katrina
  1. Anna Mnatsakanova1,
  2. Erin C McCanlies1,
  3. Michael E Andrew1,
  4. Cecil M Burchfiel1,
  5. John M Violanti2
  1. 1CDC/NIOSH, Morgantown, WV, USA
  2. 2School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA


Objectives To investigate if organisational support modifies associations between life events and psychological symptomatology among police officers post Hurricane Katrina.

Method Complete data on depression [Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D)], PTSD [Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist - Civilian version (PCL-C)] and life change events [Recent Life Changes Questionnaire] were available for 98 police officers assessed 6 years after Katrina. The Survey of Perceived Organisational Support scale was used to assess organisational and supervisory support. Linear regression and ANOVA/ANCOVA were used to compare mean levels of depression and PTSD across quartiles of total life change events score.

Results Mean age was 42.5 years; 27% were female. Mean levels of CES-D and PCL-C did not differ significantly between male and female officers. Total life events score was positively and significantly associated with depression and PTSD in both unadjusted and multivariable adjusted models (p < 0.001). Among officers who scored low on organisational support, mean levels of CES-D and PCL-C increased significantly with the increasing quartiles of total life event score (p = 0.005 and p = 0.001, respectively) in fully adjusted models. Associations were not significant among officers who scored high on organisational support.

Conclusions Our findings suggest that a higher number of life change events is significantly associated with increasing symptoms of depression and PTSD among officers, and these associations are modified by organisational support. Previous studies suggest that stressful life events are associated with chronic depression. Future studies are warranted to investigate independent contributions of individual life events in associations involving depression, PTSD and support.

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