Social integration buffers stress in New York police after the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Schwarzer R; Bowler RM; Cone JE
Anxiety Stress Coping 2014 Jan; 27(1):18-26
Being socially integrated is regarded as a protective factor enabling people to cope with adversity. The stress-buffering effect reflects an interaction between stress and a social coping resource factor on subsequent outcomes. This study, based on 2943 police officers, examines mental health outcomes among officers who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The Wave 1 data collection took place between September 2003 and November 2004 with a follow-up study (Wave 2) conducted from November 2006 through December 2007. A moderated mediation model was specified that uses event exposure as a distal predictor, earlier stress response as a mediator, and later stress response as an outcome, and social integration as a moderator of this relationship. The mediation hypothesis was confirmed, and moderation occurred at two stages. First, there was a multiplicative relationship between exposure levels and social integration: The higher the exposure level, the more stress responses occur, but this effect was buffered by a high level of social integration. Second, Wave 1 stress interacted with social integration on Wave 2 stress: The more the police officers were socially integrated, the lower the Wave 2 stress, which happened in a synergistic manner. The findings contribute to the understanding of mediating and moderating mechanisms that result in health outcomes such as posttraumatic stress disorder or resilience.
Sociological-factors; Humans; Men; Women; Stress; Police-officers; Law-enforcement-workers; Mental-health; Models; Exposure-levels; Emergency-responders;
Author Keywords: resilience; social integration; trauma; posttraumatic stress disorder; stress buffer
Ralf Schwarzer, Department of Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Anxiety, Stress and Coping
New York City Health/Mental Hygiene