Mar 27, 2002

Critical incident exposure and sleep quality in police officers

Psychosomatic Medicine
Thomas NeylanCharles R Marmar


Police officers face many stressors that may negatively impact sleep quality. This study compares subjective sleep quality in police officers with that in control subjects not involved in police or emergency services. We examined the effects of critical incident exposure (trauma exposure) and routine (nontraumatic) work environment stressors on sleep quality after controlling for the effects of work shift schedule. Subjective sleep disturbances were measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index in police officers (variable-shift workers, N = 551; stable day-shift workers, N = 182) and peer-nominated comparison subjects (variable-shift workers, N = 98; stable day-shift workers, N = 232). The main predictor variables were 1) duty-related critical incident exposure to on-line policing and 2) work environment stress related to routine administrative and organizational aspects of police work. Police officers on both variable and stable day shifts reported significantly worse sleep quality and less average sleep time than the two corresponding control groups. Within police officers, cumulative critical incident exposure was associated with nightmares but only weakly associated with poor global sleep quality. In contrast, the stress ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Occupational Diseases
Delayed Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Police Force
Subwakefullness Syndrome
Critical Illness
Emergencies [Disease/Finding]
Voice Disorders
Work Schedule Tolerance
Wounds and Injuries

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