Title

Secondary Traumatic Stress and Burnout among Law Enforcement Investigators Exposed to Disturbing Media Images

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2010

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This study examines the psychological impact of viewing disturbing media on investigators engaged in computer forensics work. Twenty-eight federal law enforcement personnel who investigate Internet child pornography cases completed measures of secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD) and burnout. Substantial percentages of investigators reported poor psychological well-being. Greater exposure to disturbing media was related to higher levels of STSD and cynicism. STSD and burnout scores were related to increased protectiveness of family, reliance on co-workers, general distrust, and turnover intentions. On a positive note, investigators scored high in professional efficacy, indicating they feel their work makes a difference. Furthermore, personnel with supportive relationships scored lower on both STSD and burnout.

Publication Title

Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

DOI

10.1007/s11896-010-9066-7