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PLoS One. 2014 Jul 2;9(7):e100663. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100663. eCollection 2014.

Prospective study of police officer spouse/partners: a new pathway to secondary trauma and relationship violence?

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.
2
Department of Psychiatry, New York University, New York, New York, United States of America.
3
Mental Health Service, San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Francisco, California, United States of America.
4
Graduate School of Education and Counseling, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon, United States of America.
5
Dissemination and Training Division, National Center for PTSD, Palo Alto, California, United States of America.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America; Mental Health Service, San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Francisco, California, United States of America.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

It has been reported that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with secondary spouse/partner (S/P) emotional distress and relationship violence.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the relationships between PTSD, S/P emotional distress and relationship violence among police recruits using a prospective design.

METHODS:

Two hypotheses were tested in 71 S/Ps: (1) Police officer reports of greater PTSD symptoms after 12 months of police service will be associated with greater secondary trauma symptoms among S/Ps; (2) Greater secondary trauma symptoms among S/Ps at 12 months will be associated with S/P reports of greater relationship violence.

METHODS:

71 police recruits and their S/Ps were assessed at baseline and 12 months after the start of police officer duty. Using linear and logistic regression, we analyzed explanatory variables for 12 month S/P secondary traumatic stress symptoms and couple violence, including baseline S/P variables and couple violence, as well as exposure and PTSD reports from both S/P and officer.

RESULTS:

S/P perception of officer PTSD symptoms predicted S/P secondary traumatic stress. OS/P secondary trauma was significantly associated with both total couple violence (.34, pā€Š=ā€Š.004) and S/P to officer violence (.35, pā€Š=ā€Š.003).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although results from this relatively small study of young police officers and their S/Ps must be confirmed by larger studies in general populations, findings suggest that S/P perception of PTSD symptoms may play a key role in the spread of traumatic stress symptoms across intimate partner relationships and intimate partner violence in the context of PTSD.

PMID:
24987848
PMCID:
PMC4079247
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0100663
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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