Police officers: a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study

P.G. van der Velden, A.R. Rademakers, E. Vermetten, M.A. Portengen, L. Grievink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

ABSTRACT
Objectives: Policing is generally considered a highrisk
profession for the development of mental health
problems, but this assumption lacks empirical
evidence. Research question of the present study is to
what extent mental health disturbances, such as (very)
severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostility
are more prevalent among police officers than among
other occupational groups.
Design: Multicomparative cross-sectional study using
the data of several cross-sectional and longitudinal
studies in the Netherlands.
Participants: Two samples of police officers (N=144
and 503), employees of banks (N=1113) and
employees of banks who were robbed (N=144);
employees of supermarkets (N=335), and a psychiatric
hospital (N=219), employees of a governmental social
welfare organisation (N=76), employees who followed a
training based on rational-motive therapy to strengthen
their assertiveness (N=710), soldiers before
deployment (N=278) and before redeployment (N=236)
and firefighters (N=123). The numbers refer to
respondents with complete data.
Primary outcomes: Prevalence of severe (subclinical
level) and very severe symptoms (clinical level) were
computed using the Dutch norm tables (80th percentile
and 95th percentile, respectively) of the Symptom
Check List Revised (SCL-90-R). All comparisons were
controlled for age, gender and education.
Results: Multivariate logistic regression and analyses
showed that the prevalence of clinical and subclinical
levels of symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostility
among police officers were not significantly higher than
among comparison groups. The same pattern was
found for the other SCL-90-R subscales.
Conclusions: We found no indications that selfreported
mental health disturbances were more
prevalent among police officers than among groups of
employees that are not considered high-risk groups,
such as employees of banks, supermarkets, psychiatric
hospital and soldiers before deployment.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ bmjopen-2012-001720)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Medical Journal - Open
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2013

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Police
Mental Health
Military Personnel
Depression
Occupational Groups
Netherlands
Cross-Sectional Studies
Logistic Models
Organizations
Education

Cite this

van der Velden, P. G., Rademakers, A. R., Vermetten, E., Portengen, M. A., & Grievink, L. (2013). Police officers: a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study. British Medical Journal - Open, 1-10. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ bmjopen-2012-001720)].
van der Velden, P.G. ; Rademakers, A.R. ; Vermetten, E. ; Portengen, M.A. ; Grievink, L. / Police officers : a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study. In: British Medical Journal - Open. 2013 ; pp. 1-10.
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abstract = "ABSTRACTObjectives: Policing is generally considered a highriskprofession for the development of mental healthproblems, but this assumption lacks empiricalevidence. Research question of the present study is towhat extent mental health disturbances, such as (very)severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostilityare more prevalent among police officers than amongother occupational groups.Design: Multicomparative cross-sectional study usingthe data of several cross-sectional and longitudinalstudies in the Netherlands.Participants: Two samples of police officers (N=144and 503), employees of banks (N=1113) andemployees of banks who were robbed (N=144);employees of supermarkets (N=335), and a psychiatrichospital (N=219), employees of a governmental socialwelfare organisation (N=76), employees who followed atraining based on rational-motive therapy to strengthentheir assertiveness (N=710), soldiers beforedeployment (N=278) and before redeployment (N=236)and firefighters (N=123). The numbers refer torespondents with complete data.Primary outcomes: Prevalence of severe (subclinicallevel) and very severe symptoms (clinical level) werecomputed using the Dutch norm tables (80th percentileand 95th percentile, respectively) of the SymptomCheck List Revised (SCL-90-R). All comparisons werecontrolled for age, gender and education.Results: Multivariate logistic regression and analysesshowed that the prevalence of clinical and subclinicallevels of symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostilityamong police officers were not significantly higher thanamong comparison groups. The same pattern wasfound for the other SCL-90-R subscales.Conclusions: We found no indications that selfreportedmental health disturbances were moreprevalent among police officers than among groups ofemployees that are not considered high-risk groups,such as employees of banks, supermarkets, psychiatrichospital and soldiers before deployment.",
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van der Velden, PG, Rademakers, AR, Vermetten, E, Portengen, MA & Grievink, L 2013, 'Police officers: a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study', British Medical Journal - Open, pp. 1-10.

Police officers : a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study. / van der Velden, P.G.; Rademakers, A.R.; Vermetten, E.; Portengen, M.A.; Grievink, L.

In: British Medical Journal - Open, 28.01.2013, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

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T2 - a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study

AU - van der Velden, P.G.

AU - Rademakers, A.R.

AU - Vermetten, E.

AU - Portengen, M.A.

AU - Grievink, L.

PY - 2013/1/28

Y1 - 2013/1/28

N2 - ABSTRACTObjectives: Policing is generally considered a highriskprofession for the development of mental healthproblems, but this assumption lacks empiricalevidence. Research question of the present study is towhat extent mental health disturbances, such as (very)severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostilityare more prevalent among police officers than amongother occupational groups.Design: Multicomparative cross-sectional study usingthe data of several cross-sectional and longitudinalstudies in the Netherlands.Participants: Two samples of police officers (N=144and 503), employees of banks (N=1113) andemployees of banks who were robbed (N=144);employees of supermarkets (N=335), and a psychiatrichospital (N=219), employees of a governmental socialwelfare organisation (N=76), employees who followed atraining based on rational-motive therapy to strengthentheir assertiveness (N=710), soldiers beforedeployment (N=278) and before redeployment (N=236)and firefighters (N=123). The numbers refer torespondents with complete data.Primary outcomes: Prevalence of severe (subclinicallevel) and very severe symptoms (clinical level) werecomputed using the Dutch norm tables (80th percentileand 95th percentile, respectively) of the SymptomCheck List Revised (SCL-90-R). All comparisons werecontrolled for age, gender and education.Results: Multivariate logistic regression and analysesshowed that the prevalence of clinical and subclinicallevels of symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostilityamong police officers were not significantly higher thanamong comparison groups. The same pattern wasfound for the other SCL-90-R subscales.Conclusions: We found no indications that selfreportedmental health disturbances were moreprevalent among police officers than among groups ofemployees that are not considered high-risk groups,such as employees of banks, supermarkets, psychiatrichospital and soldiers before deployment.

AB - ABSTRACTObjectives: Policing is generally considered a highriskprofession for the development of mental healthproblems, but this assumption lacks empiricalevidence. Research question of the present study is towhat extent mental health disturbances, such as (very)severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostilityare more prevalent among police officers than amongother occupational groups.Design: Multicomparative cross-sectional study usingthe data of several cross-sectional and longitudinalstudies in the Netherlands.Participants: Two samples of police officers (N=144and 503), employees of banks (N=1113) andemployees of banks who were robbed (N=144);employees of supermarkets (N=335), and a psychiatrichospital (N=219), employees of a governmental socialwelfare organisation (N=76), employees who followed atraining based on rational-motive therapy to strengthentheir assertiveness (N=710), soldiers beforedeployment (N=278) and before redeployment (N=236)and firefighters (N=123). The numbers refer torespondents with complete data.Primary outcomes: Prevalence of severe (subclinicallevel) and very severe symptoms (clinical level) werecomputed using the Dutch norm tables (80th percentileand 95th percentile, respectively) of the SymptomCheck List Revised (SCL-90-R). All comparisons werecontrolled for age, gender and education.Results: Multivariate logistic regression and analysesshowed that the prevalence of clinical and subclinicallevels of symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostilityamong police officers were not significantly higher thanamong comparison groups. The same pattern wasfound for the other SCL-90-R subscales.Conclusions: We found no indications that selfreportedmental health disturbances were moreprevalent among police officers than among groups ofemployees that are not considered high-risk groups,such as employees of banks, supermarkets, psychiatrichospital and soldiers before deployment.

M3 - Article

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JO - BMJ Open

JF - BMJ Open

SN - 2044-6055

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ER -

van der Velden PG, Rademakers AR, Vermetten E, Portengen MA, Grievink L. Police officers: a high risk group for the development of mental health disturbances? A cohort study. British Medical Journal - Open. 2013 Jan 28;1-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ bmjopen-2012-001720).