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Law enforcement officers (LEOs) often bear witness to trauma in others, leaving them vulnerable to vicarious traumatization. Vicarious resilience can counterbalance the negative effects of trauma work and help individuals avoid vicarious traumatization. This study investigated the phenomenon of vicarious resilience in 10 LEOs. The research questions focused on how the LEOs experienced witnessing victims demonstrate resilience during adversity and how they themselves were impacted by that experience. A phenomenological methodology and semi-structured interviews were used to explore the participants' experiences. Constructivist self-development theory and vicarious resilience were the conceptual frameworks used to explain how LEOs experience vicarious trauma and vicarious resilience. Phenomenological analysis was used to organize the data and assist in the development of themes regarding the nature of the participants' lived experiences. Analysis of the LEOs interview transcriptions generated 19 themes; including LEOs feel encouraged from witnessing victims' determination to live in the face of death, LEOs are motivated to reevaluate their own adversities, LEOs feel inspired from witnessing and reflecting on victims' ability to survive trauma, and LEOs carry hope that future victims will be resilient. Overall, the findings indicated that LEOs experience positive experiences and personal growth from their work with resilient victims. Results of this study may be used in law enforcement training to stimulate positive social change that might improve the well-being of LEOs by providing awareness on how vicarious resilience can be used as a proactive measure in working with trauma victims.
Pair, Janet M., "A Qualitative Inquiry into the Phenomenon of Vicarious Resilience in Law Enforcement Officers" (2018). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 5244.