Journal Article

Alcohol Abuse, PTSD, and Officer-Committed Domestic Violence

Karen Oehme, Elizabeth A. Donnelly and Annelise Martin

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 6, issue 4, pages 418-430
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online July 2012 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI:
Alcohol Abuse, PTSD, and Officer-Committed Domestic Violence

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In a unique prevention project in a large US state, researchers explored how alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates influence rates of self-reported domestic violence committed by law enforcement officers. Survey methodology with a cross-sectional design was used, and multiple measures and instruments were analyzed. Because of the novel nature of the online curriculum and resources, there was no comparison group. A strong association—not a cause/effect relationship—was found: officers who had PTSD were four times more likely to report using physical violence, officers who had hazardous drinking were four times more likely to report violence, and dependent drinkers were eight times more likely to report being physically violent with an intimate partner. The findings suggest new opportunities for agency action and have resulted in new recommendations for training and policies to help support healthier law enforcement officers. No previous study has explored the link between PTSD, alcohol use, and domestic violence within this population.

Journal Article.  6673 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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