Journal Published Online: 01 September 2002
Volume 47, Issue 5

Acute Dissociative Responses in Law Enforcement Officers Involved in Critical Shooting Incidents: The Clinical and Forensic Implications



The authors examine the prevalence of acute traumatic dissociative responses in a group of 115 law enforcement officers involved in critical incidents. Law enforcement officers were retrospectively surveyed for the presence of dissociative symptoms at the time of the critical in-cident, as well as for the presence of acute stress symptoms and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Results show that 90% of the officers reported ex-periencing a dissociative response during the critical incident. Thirty percent meet the Dissociative Criterion B of acute stress disorder under the DSM-IV. The mean number of dissociative symptoms in this group was two and one-half. In addition, 19% of the law enforcement officers reported varying forms of memory impairment for details of the incident. There were no reports of amnesia for the entire event. The clinical, forensic, and legal implications of these preliminary findings are discussed in this paper.

Author Information

Rivard, JM
, San Luis Obispo, CA
Dietz, P
Park Dietz & Associates, Inc., Newport Beach, CA
Martell, D
Affiliated with Park Dietz & Associates, Inc., New-port Beach, CA
Widawski, M
UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Biostatistics
Pages: 8
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Stock #: JFS15504J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS15504J