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Crime Scene Investigators and Traumatic Event–Related Stress: A Quantitative Study

By: Published: 2016 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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For crime scene technicians and forensic technicians, death investigation is a job requirement. Many first responders often experience extreme levels of stress in their everyday duties responding to homicide investigations, deadly motor vehicle accidents, or mass casualty incidents. However, crime scene investigators (or technicians; the job has many titles) also respond to critical incidents, especially traumatic death events. They are also likely to experience similar levels of traumatic stress. After several years of research, I determined that this particular group had not been studied before. Was there a connection between exposure to traumatic death events and event-related stress (whether perceived or actual) for crime scene investigators? To explore this untapped group, I used a non-experimental survey research methodology. Data were collected from a sample of crime scene investigators who are members of two professional forensic organizations: the American Academy of Forensic Science and the Florida Division of the International Association for Identification. The research findings indicated no correlation existed between levels of stress and number of traumatic death events investigated. Accordingly, my research indicated that more investigation was warranted, including asking those participants who indicated some levels of traumatic event–related stress to elaborate on their responses.

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