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Association of traumatic police event exposure with sleep quality and quantity in the BCOPS study cohort.

Bond J; Hartley TA; Sarkisian K; Andrew ME; Charles LE; Violanti JM; Burchfiel CM
Int J Emerg Mental Health Hum Resil 2013 Oct-Dec; 15(4):255-266
Police officers are exposed to traumatic and life-threatening events, which may lead to sleep problems. Prior studies of police officers have found them to have poor sleep quality and reduced sleep time. This study examined associations between traumatic events and sleep quality. Participants were 372 police officers from the Buffalo Cardio-metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) Study. Police incidents were measured by the Police Incident Survey; sleep quality and quantity were derived from the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to examine mean PSQI scores across categories of traumatic event frequency. Models were adjusted for age, education and ethnicity and stratified by sex and workload. In men, significant associations were found for the 'shooting of another officer' and sleep quality (p-value = 0.024) and sleep disturbances (p-value=0.022). In women, seeing more 'abused children'was associated with poorer sleep quality (p-value=0.050); increasing frequency of 'seeing victims of a serious traffic accident' was associated with shorter sleep duration (p-value=0.032). Increased frequency of 'seeing dead bodies' was associated with poorer sleep quality (p-value=0.040) and shorter sleep duration (p-value=0.048). Among women with a high workload, a significant inverse association was found between 'seeing serious traffic accident victims' and global sleep quality (p-value = 0.031). In conclusion, a significant inverse association between frequency of select traumatic events and sleep quality was found in male and female police officers. The significant events differed by sex. Future research could examine longitudinal associations between career-long traumatic event exposures and sleep quality and how these associations differ by sex
Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers; Police-officers; Emergency-responders; Humans; Women; Men; Sex-factors; Demographic-characteristics; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Psychological-stress; Mental-stress; Author Keywords: traumatic; sleep; stress; law enforcement
Tara A. Hartley, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Morgantown, WV
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Grant; Contract
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-OH-009640; Contract-200-2003-01580
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
Source Name
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience
Performing Organization
State University of New York at Buffalo
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division