Lithuanian State Border Guard Service officers’ traumatic experiences and their psychological counselling needs and attitudes
More details
Hide details
Department of Health Psychology, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
Submission date: 2019-08-23
Final revision date: 2019-09-26
Acceptance date: 2019-09-26
Online publication date: 2019-10-09
Publication date: 2019-10-09
Health Psychology Report 2019;7(3):183–190
State Border Guards (SBGs) are an under-researched group in law enforcement. Their role involves exposure to threats and actual traumatic events. This study is designed to assess the nature of SBGs’ traumatic experi-ences, their perceptions of their need for psychological counselling and their attitudes towards counselling.

Participants and procedure:
168 Lithuanian State Border Guard Service (SBGS) officers were surveyed, using the following tools: a modi-fied form of the Life Events Checklist (LEC), six questions to assess the need and attitudes towards psychologi-cal counselling, and socio-demographic variables.

72.6% of the sample reported direct exposure to at least one type of traumatic event, 73.2% reported indirect exposure, and 64.3% reported exposure to trauma at work during the previous 5 years. Those who experienced more different types of direct traumatic events are more inclined to feel uneasy if their colleagues knew about them needing psychological help, more willing to look for help outside of their current employer, more likely to think that their boss might fire them if their need for psychological help became known, and less likely to think that psychological help at work is easily accessible.

SBGS officers with more extensive direct traumatic event exposure exhibit more negative attitudes towards psychological counselling than their less traumatized counterparts.

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – DMS-5.
(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
Benjet, C., Bromet, E., Karam, E. G., Kessler, R. C., McLaughlin, K. A., Ruscio, A. M., … & Koenen, K. C. (2015). The epidemiology of traumatic event exposure worldwide: Results from the World Mental Health Survey Consortium. Psychological Medicine, 46, 327–343. https://doi.org/10.1017/S00332....
Blais, R. K., & Renshaw, K. D. (2013). Stigma and demographic correlates of help-seeking intentions in returning service members. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 77–85. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.21....
Crespo, M., & Fernández-Lansac, V. (2016). Memory and narrative of traumatic events: A literature review. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 8, 149–156. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra000....
Greene-Shortridge, T. M., Britt, T. W., & Castro, C. A. (2007). The stigma of mental health problems in the military. Military Medicine, 172, 157–161. https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED....
Guajardo, S. A. (2016). Women in policing: A longitudinal assessment of female officers in superviso-ry positions in the New York City Police Department. Women & Criminal Justice, 26, 20–36. https://doi.org/10.1080/089744....
Heffren, C. D., & Hausdorf, P. A. (2016). Post-traumatic effects in policing: perceptions, stigmas and help seeking behaviours. Police Practice and Research, 17, 420–433. https://doi.org/10.1080/156142....
Husky, M. M., Lépine, J. P., Gasquet, I., & Kovess-Masfety, V. (2015). Exposure to traumatic events and posttraumatic stress disorder in France: Results from the WMH survey. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28, 275–282. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22....
ICD-11 (2019). ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics. Retrieved from https://icd.who.int/browse11/l....
Johnson, J., & McCutcheon, S. (1980). Assessing life stress in older children and adolescents: Pre-liminary findings with the life events checklist. In I. G. Sarason & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Stress and anxiety (pp. 111–125). Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
Johnson, J. L., Oliffe, J. L., Kelly, M. T., Galdas, P., & Ogrodniczuk, J. S. (2012). Men’s discourses of help-seeking in the context of depression. Sociology of Health and Illness, 34, 345–361. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467....
Karaffa, K. M., & Tochkov, K. (2013). Attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment among law enforcement officers. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 9, 75–99.
Lamoureux-Lamarche, C., & Vasiliadis, H. M. (2017). Lifetime traumatic events, health-related quality of life, and satisfaction with life in older adults. Quality of life research, 26, 2683–2692. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136....
Lee, J. H., Lee, D., Kim, J., Jeon, K., & Sim, M. (2017). Duty-related trauma exposure and posttrau-matic stress symptoms in professional firefighters. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 30, 133–141. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22....
Levy-Gigi, E., Richter-Levin, G., & Kéri, S. (2014). The hidden price of repeated traumatic exposure : different cognitive deficits in different first-responders. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.....
Malach-Pines, A., & Keinan, G. (2006). Stress and burnout in Israeli border police. International Journal of Stress Management, 13, 519–540. https://doi.org/10.1037/1072-5....
Martin, M., Marchand, A., & Boyer, R. (2009). Traumatic events in the workplace: Impact on psycho-pathology and healthcare use of police officers. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 11, 165–176.
Ménard, K. S., Arter, M. L., & Khan, C. (2016). Critical incidents, alcohol and trauma problems, and service utilization among police officers from five countries. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 40, 25–42. https://doi.org/10.1080/019240....
Naz, S. (2012). Police and psychological trauma: a cross-cultural, mixed methodological study of how police cope with the psychological consequences of their work (doctoral dissertation). University of Huddersfield, UK. Retrieved from http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/17132....
Nuñez-Neto, B. (2008). Border security: The role of the US Border Patrol. Washington, DC: Congres-sional Research Service. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.ilr.corn....
Park, K. S. (2019). The effect of the exposure to work-related potentially traumatic events on occupa-tional functioning (work limitations) among firefighters: a cross-sectional study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 76, A94.
Reavley, N. J., Milner, A. J., Martin, A., Too, L. S., Papas, A., Witt, K., Keegel, T., & LaMontagne, A. D. (2018). Depression literacy and help-seeking in Australian police. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 1063–1074. https://doi.org/10.1177/000486....
Rivera, K. D., & Tracy, S. J. (2014). Embodying emotional dirty work: A messy text of patrolling the border. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 9, 201–222. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-0....
Roberts, T., Esponda, G. M., Krupchanka, D., Shidhaye, R., Patel, V., & Rathod, S. (2018). Factors associated with health service utilisation for common mental disorders: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 18, 262. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888....
Ryan, M. L., Shochet, I. M., & Stallman, H. M. (2010). Universal online interventions might engage psychologically distressed university students who are unlikely to seek formal help. Advances in Mental Health, 9, 73–83. https://doi.org/10.5172/jamh.9....
Soomro, S., & Yanos, P. T. (2019). Predictors of mental health stigma among police officers: the role of trauma and PTSD. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 34, 175–183. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896....
Sullivan, L., Camic, P. M., & Brown, J. S. L. (2015). Masculinity, alexithymia, and fear of intimacy as predictors of UK men’s attitudes towards seeking professional psychological help. British Journal of Health Psychology, 20, 194–211. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.1....
Thornton, M. A., & Herndon, J. (2016). Emotion regulation in police officers following distress: effects of tenure and critical incidents. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 31, 304–309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11896....
Tucker, J. M. (2015). Police officer willingness to use stress intervention services: The role of per-ceived organizational support (POS), confidentiality and stigma. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience, 17, 304–314.
Wiegand, D. M., & Chiu, S. (2017). Evaluation of fire fighters’ mental health symptoms and exposure to traumatic events, job stress, and bloodborne pathogens. HHE Report No. 2017-0021-3293. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/....