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Keywords:

  • Police;
  • group;
  • GHQ;
  • therapy;
  • counselling;
  • stress

Abstract

The level of psychiatric morbidity and perceived sources of stress among police officers were investigated using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and a stress situation questionnaire, which were sent to 171 officers. Half of the responders were invited to attend group counselling sessions weekly for 12 weeks. Outcome measures studied were a second GHQ completed at the end of the treatment period and the amounts of sick leave taken in the 12-week period before, during and after the treatment period. The results were that 61 people returned the first GHQ of whom 59 were male and of whom 14 were classed as ‘cases’. Of the 31 assigned to the treatment group, 22 attended at least one session. Responses to the stress situation questionnaire and the content of counselling sessions tended to confirm the impression that internal aspects of the organization were viewed as prime sources of stress and dissatisfaction. There were no significant changes in GHQ score within or between groups, nor were there significant differences in the amount of sick leave taken. Nevertheless the sessions appeared to be valued and we conclude that this sort of intervention is at least feasible. We recommend that similar studies measure psychiatric morbidity during treatment and at follow-up, rather than immediately after finishing, when reactions to this termination are prominent.