Volume 47, Issue 3 (May 2002)
The Emotional and Psychological Impact of Mass Casualty Incidents on Forensic Odontologists
Motivated by the findings of a previous research project, 38 forensic odontologists with known occupational experience of mass casualty incidents completed a questionnaire designed to elicit both quantitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire sought to provide an insight into the psychological and emotional impact of conducting work of this nature. Two psychometric scales were included in the questionnaire, The Positive and Negative Affect scale (PANAS) and the Impact of Events Scale (IOE). In addition, a number of open-ended questions relating to the personal experiences of the respondent during the mass casualty incident were also included. Quantitative findings indicate that on the whole mass casualty incidents resulted in a positive experience for the respondents, although over a third reported being distressed, upset or irritable at some time during the event. Sense of achievement and camaraderie were among the qualitative themes elicited that help explain the positive reactions. Working conditions, politics and the victims were cited as sources of negativity.