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Why do police officers (not) seek help? Correlates and predictors of attitudes towards psychological help-seeking in the police

Grumley Traynor, Imogen (2023) Why do police officers (not) seek help? Correlates and predictors of attitudes towards psychological help-seeking in the police. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

Through both literature review and empirical research, this thesis explores factors which may explain why police officers do not always seek psychological support when they need it. By consolidating and expanding current knowledge, it is hoped that the thesis may help to inform future efforts to ensure that all officers can access support as required.

Paper 1 is a scoping literature review of quantitative studies which have examined the relationship between attitudes towards psychological help-seeking and other variables. The review identified 102 potential correlates/predictors of help-seeking attitudes across 21 studies. Past help-seeking, perceived service availability, and having a mental health diagnosis were the most consistent facilitators of positive help-seeking attitudes. Current PTSD symptoms were the most consistent barrier. However, most variables had a weak evidence base, having been studied only once or having had contradictory findings across studies. The studies also differed substantially in their operationalisation of help-seeking attitudes. The review concluded that further high-quality research is necessary.

Paper 2 presents a cross-sectional, quantitative research study investigating the ability of five variables—current psychological distress, mental health literacy, distress disclosure, organisational stigma, and length of service—to predict psychological help-seeking in a UK police force. An online survey was completed by 97 officers. Multiple regression analyses showed that mental health literacy and distress disclosure predicted more positive help-seeking attitudes, while distress and organisational stigma predicted more negative attitudes. Length of service was not significant. Clinical implications of the findings are considered, alongside limitations and recommendations for future research.

Paper 3 is an executive summary of the empirical research, written for the research participants, police forces, and related organisations. The paper gives an overview of the study’s background, method, findings, limitations, and recommendations. A police officer, an ex-officer, and police researchers were consulted to maximise this paper’s usefulness.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology and Counselling
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2024 08:26
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2024 08:26

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