Death notification--informing the deceased's family of an unexpected death--is a singularly stressful task common to medical personnel, clergy, and police. We surveyed by questionnaire a group of 50 Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives, 21 of whom were subsequently interviewed by telephone. The detectives stated that their initial apprehension stemmed from feeling unprepared. Identification with victims' families was common and compounded the stress. One prevalent worry concerned the possible reactions of the family upon hearing the news, especially the risk of a violent attack on the police officer. Several coping styles were recognized. Our findings suggest that the repetitive performance of this continuously stressful task may be a prominent and underappreciated contribution to occupational burnout.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1987|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health