Salivary Measures of Stress and Immunity in Police Officers Engaged in Simulated Critical Incident Scenarios
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Objectives: This research investigated the effects of a critical incident lethal force scenario on a panel of salivary biomarkers, measured at baseline and then at 10 and 30 minutes postscenario, in 141 law enforcement volunteer officers.
Methods: Officers were randomly assigned to two virtual reality scenarios. One scenario was brief and involved a police officer chasing a suspect on a motorcycle, confronting the suspect who draws a gun and shoots the police officer. The other scenario involved a lengthy chase by the police officer through a workplace of an armed perpetrator ultimately engaging in gunfire with the police officer. Saliva was analyzed for cortisol, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), interleukin-6, and alpha-amylase concentrations.
Results: The "workplace" scenario produced the largest responses in biomarkers, with significant rises in cortisol, interleukin-6, alpha-amylase, and secretory immunoglobulin A. These data suggest that virtual reality can produce stress and immune effects.
Conclusions: This research suggests that virtual reality scenarios produce physiologic stress responses, mimicking occupational stress.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, v. 52, issue 6, p. 595-602
Scholar Commons Citation
Groer, Maureen; Murphy, R.; Bunnell, B.; and Salomon, Kristen, "Salivary Measures of Stress and Immunity in Police Officers Engaged in Simulated Critical Incident Scenarios" (2010). Psychology Faculty Publications. 1840.