The role of automatic defensive responses in the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms in police recruits: protocol of a prospective study

Saskia B. J. Koch, Floris Klumpers, Wei Zhang, Mahur M. Hashemi, Reinoud Kaldewaij, Vanessa A. van Ast, Annika S. Smit & Karin Roelofs
Background: Control over automatic tendencies is often compromised in challenging situations when people fall back on automatic defensive reactions, such as freeze–fight–flight responses. Stress-induced lack of control over automatic defensive responses constitutes a problem endemic to high-risk professions, such as the police. Difficulties controlling automatic defensive responses may not only impair split-second decisions under threat, but also increase the risk for and persistence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, the significance of these automatic...
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