Prevalence of PTSD, Depression and Anxiety Disorders in Correctional Officers: A Systematic Review
Cheryl Regehr, Mary Carey, Shannon Wagner, Lynn E. Alden, Nicholas Buys, Wayne Corneil, Trina Fyfe, Alex Fraess-Phillips, Elyssa Krutop, Lynda Matthews, Christine Randall, Marc White & Nicole White
In addition to the daily stressors of the job, correctional officers are exposed to violence, direct threat to themselves, and ultimately workplace injury at rates considerably higher than that of other workers. Yet, while the mental health aftermath of such exposures have been frequently studied in other public safety professions, the consequences for correctional officers are relatively unknown. The current systematic review examines the existing literature on correctional officers to provide prevalence estimates of PTSD, acute stress disorder, major depression and anxiety disorder. The literature on this topic is very limited, but nevertheless provides evidence of high prevalence of PTSD, depression and anxiety when compared to other occupational groups and the general population. PTSD is most strongly associated with physical violence and injury encountered on the job. Depression and anxiety are most strongly associated with low levels of perceived support from the organization, low job satisfaction, and low-perceived social valuing of the roles these officers perform. These findings have implications for future research and for occupational health and safety interventions in support of these key members of the public safety workforce.