Dealing With Death in Custody: Psychosocial Consequences for Correctional Staff

T Cassidy, Stephanie Bruce

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Abstract

This study investigated experiences of trauma and psychosocial mediators in correctional staff who had dealt with a death in custody within the previous year. A total of 211 participants completed the Trauma Symptom Index as well as measures of self-efficacy, optimism, problem-solving style, social support, and growth. The data showed that around 32% of participants were exhibiting symptoms at a clinical level. Prior experience with suicide and level of involvement in the incident were direct predictors of symptom level. Support, optimism, self-efficacy, and confidence in problem-solving seemed to be potential protective factors and were also predictive of trauma-related growth. Although the study was cross sectional, the data suggest that it may be possible to predict factors that are protective and therefore offer some hope in terms of developing preventive strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Correctional Health Care
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • optimism
  • problem-solving
  • suicide
  • support seeking
  • trauma

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