AN EXPLORATION OF THE MODERATING EFFECT THAT DEBRIEFING HAS ON SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE OFFICERS EXPOSED TO TRAUMA
 
Bothma, H. and Canterbury, J., University of Cape Town, South Africa
 
Within the current South African context violence is seen as a conventional part of life. The research study investigated the role of debriefing in moderating the potential traumatic stress response of South African Police Service officers that deal with violence habitually. The research study employed a quasi-experimental quantitative research design investigating the relationship between exposure to trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and debriefing. The results indicated that there was no significant difference between those that received debriefing and those that did not in terms of the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms. However, there was a significant difference between those who experienced morgue work as traumatic and those who did not in terms of their respective levels of intrusion (unbidden thoughts/images), hyper-arousal (symptoms of anxiety) and total post-traumatic stress symptoms.