Research & Efficacy

iPREP: A Potentially Lifesaving Psychophysiological Intervention for Special Forces Police Officers

Policing has been termed one of the most ‘psychologically dangerous jobs’ given the routine exposure to trauma (e.g., domestic and child abuse) and violent criminals. Further, officers often experience very elevated sympathetic arousal during high threat situations. High sympathetic arousal is associated with judgment and decision-making. In policing, this translates to potential life or death consequences for officers and civilians.

We longitudinally monitored the physiological and psychological responses to critical incidents in real-life and training scenarios among Special Forces police SWAT teams  in North America and Europe. Officer performance during critical incidents (as rated by expert SWAT trainers independent of our research) could be predicted from their physiological profiles (e.g., cortisol and cardiovascular reactivity).

Based on these findings, we conducted a randomized controlled intervention trial addressing both the psychological and physiological arousal associated with high threat situations among Special Forces police. Implications of this short-term training include potential lifesaving actions for both officers and the civilians they interact with. We have also conducted research trials with recruits and front-line officers in North America. Results indicate significant improvements in situational awareness, appropriate threat assessment, improved use-of-force decision making, and significant reductions of mistakes in lethal use of force.

The iPREP methodology is now being taught as standard police training at the Police University College of Finland, the institution responsible for training all the police officers in that nation. Programs to rollout the iPREP training method in large scale police organizations are being conducted in Canada and the United States.

 

Publications and Submissions

Arpaia, J. & Andersen, J. P. (2019). The Unease Modulation Model: An experiential model of stress with implications for health, stress-management, and public policy. Frontiers Psychiatry:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00379 Read the PDF

**Planche, K., *Chan, J., *Di Nota, PD., Beston, B., Boychuk, E.C., Collins, PI., Andersen, JP. (2019). Diurnal cortisol variation according to high risk occupational specialty within police: comparisons between frontline, tactical officers, and the general populationJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001591 Read the PDF

Andersen, J. P., Di Nota, P., Beston, B., Boychuk, E. C., Gustafsberg, H., Poplawski, S., & Arpaia, J. (2018). Reducing lethal force errors by modulating police physiology. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: 6(10). Pg. 867-874. doi:10.1097/JOM.0000000000001401

Andersen, J. P., Papazoglou, K., & Collins, P. (2018). Exploring the association between authoritarianism, compassion fatigue, and compassion satisfaction among police officers. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 13 (2): 403-417.

Andersen, J. P., & Gustafsberg, H. (2016). A training method to improve police use of force decision making: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Police Emergency Response. Open Access: DOI: 10.1177/2158244016638708 Read the PDF

Andersen, J. P., Dorai, M., Papazoglou, K., & Arnetz, B. B. (2016). Diurnal and reactivity measures of cortisol in response to intensive resilience and tactical training among special forces police. Journal of Occupational and Emergency Medicine. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000756.

Andersen, J. P., Papazoglou, K., & Collins, P. I. (2016). Reducing robust health-relevant cardiovascular stress responses among active-duty Special Forces Police. General Medicine. Open Access: DOI forthcoming.

Andersen, J. P., Pitel, M., Weerasinghe, A., & Papazoglou, K. (2016). Highly realistic scenario based training simulates the psychophysiology of real world use of force encounters: Implications for improved police Officer Performance. Journal of Law Enforcement. Open Access: ISSN: 2161-0231, Volume 5(4). Read the PDF

Andersen, J. P., Papazoglou, K., Gustafsberg, H., Collins, P. I., & Arnetz, B. B. (2016). Mental preparedness training (FBI Bulletin). FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Read the PDF

Andersen, J. P, Papazoglou, K., Koskelainen, M., Nyman, M., Gustafsberg, H., & Arnetz, B. B. (2015). Applying resilience promotion training among Special Forces police officers. Journal of Police Emergency Response. Open Access: DOI: 10.1177/2158244015590446. Read the PDF

Andersen, J. P., Papazoglou, K., Arnetz, B. B., & Collins, P. I. (2015). Mental preparedness as a pathway to police resilience and optimal functioning in the line of duty. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience. Read the PDF

Andersen, J. P., Papazoglou, K., Nyman, M., Koskelainen, M., & Gustafsberg, H. (2015). Fostering resilience among police. Journal of Law Enforcement. Open Access. Read the PDF 

Conference Presentations

Boychuk, E.C., Andersen, J.P. (2019, March). Examining the Retention of Improved Performance and Decision Making after a Use-of-Force Resilience Training Program. Oral Presentation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Baltimore, MD.

Chan, J.F., Andersen, J.P. (2019, March). HRV Biofeedback and Reducing Lethal Use-of-Force Errors in Police Officers Exposed to Trauma. Oral Presentation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Baltimore, MD.

Boychuk, E.C., Saini, G., Andersen, J.P. (2018, February). Does Simulation Training Compare to Reality-Based Scenario Training in Regards to the Stimulation of Real World Stress Responses Among Police? Oral Presentation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Chen, Y., Mozafar, D., Saini, G. (2018, February). Feedback from Canadian Police officers in regards to their participation in a use of force resilience promotion training program: a qualitative study. Oral Presentation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Andersen, J.P., Papazoglou, K., Weerasinghe, A., Pitel, M., Sohbati, N., & Collins, P. (2016, August). Scenario-based SWAT Training Results in Realistic Physiological Arousal and Performance Gains. Poster Presentation at the 2016 Conference of the American Psychological Association, Denver, CO.

Andersen, J.P., Papazoglou, K., & Collins, P. (2016, January). Psychobiological Evidence of Risk and Resilience among Law Enforcement Officers: Implications for Optimal Performance during Stress. Oral Presentation at the Department of National Defence, Toronto Research Centre of Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Andersen, J.P., Papazoglou, K., Pitel, M., Weerasinghe, A., & Daoust, A. (2016, March). Predicting Police Performance from Stress Physiology: Implications for Police Training Policies. Poster Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, Denver, CO.

Andersen, J.P., Papazoglou, K., Pitel, M., Weerasinghe, A., & Daoust, A. (2016, March). Examining the Role of Physiological Reactivity as a Way to Predict Performance among SWAT team officers. Paper Presentation at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Denver, CO.

Andersen, J.P., Gustafsberg, H., Papazoglou, K., Nyman, M., Koskelainen, M., & Pitel, M. (2015, August). A Potentially Lifesaving Psychophysiological Intervention for Special Forces Police Officers. Poster presentation at the 2015 Conference of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, ON, Canada. 

Andersen, J.P., Papazoglou, K., & Collins, P. (2015, May). Current Application in Police Resilience and Health Promotion. Oral Presentation at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Ontario Critical Incidence Stress Management (CISM) Team, Ministry of Corrections and Community Safety, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Andersen, J.P., Gustafsberg, H., Papazoglou, K., Nyman, M., Koskelainen, M., & Pitel, M. (2015, March). A Potentially Lifesaving Psychophysiological Intervention for Special Forces Officers. Poster presented at the annual conference of the American Psychosomatic Society, Savannah, GA, USA.