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Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Resiliency for Forensic Science Professionals

Event Dates

At the 2018 American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) meeting, the plenary identified areas of particular stress for forensic professionals, including exposure to traumatic material during crime scene investigation and laboratory analysis, high workloads, expectations of error free work, and testimony.

Available studies reveal significant levels of stress and vicarious trauma among forensic professionals surveyed but do not fully characterize these issues nor investigate the impact of resiliency efforts.

In response to the 2018 plenary, ASCLD formed a working group to explore these topics and collaborated with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to perform a gap assessment to better characterize stress and resiliency among forensic professionals, sponsored by NIJ.

In an anonymous, online survey of seven laboratories and medical examiner offices, professionals were asked to describe job responsibilities and exposure to challenging material, and then rate stress levels and organizational responses.

Detailed Learning Objectives:

  1. The levels of vicarious trauma, burnout, and job satisfaction reported by forensic professionals who participated in the survey
  2. Perceptions of organizational resiliency efforts reported by the survey participants
  3. The relationship of vicarious trauma, burnout, and job satisfaction to perceptions of resiliency efforts

Date Created: June 10, 2020