Salivary Measures of Stress and Immunity in Police Officers Engaged in Simulated Critical Incident Scenarios

College of Nursing, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.
Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.63). 06/2010; 52(6):595-602. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181e129da
Source: PubMed


This research investigated the effects of a critical incident lethal force scenario on a panel of salivary biomarkers, measured at baseline and then at 10 and 30 minutes postscenario, in 141 law enforcement volunteer officers.
Officers were randomly assigned to two virtual reality scenarios. One scenario was brief and involved a police officer chasing a suspect on a motorcycle, confronting the suspect who draws a gun and shoots the police officer. The other scenario involved a lengthy chase by the police officer through a workplace of an armed perpetrator ultimately engaging in gunfire with the police officer. Saliva was analyzed for cortisol, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), interleukin-6, and alpha-amylase concentrations.
The "workplace" scenario produced the largest responses in biomarkers, with significant rises in cortisol, interleukin-6, alpha-amylase, and secretory immunoglobulin A. These data suggest that virtual reality can produce stress and immune effects.
This research suggests that virtual reality scenarios produce physiologic stress responses, mimicking occupational stress.

20 Reads
  • Source
    • "The techniques used to collect saliva varied among the reviewed studies , although the majority (eight) of the 13 studies used Salivettes (Campisi et al., 2012; Dugue et al., 1996; Filaire et al., 2010; Ilardo et al., 2001; Mastrolonardo et al., 2007; Minetto et al., 2005; Usui et al., 2012; Zefferino et al., 2006). Four studies used the passive drool method only (Groer et al., 2010; Izawa et al., 2013; Lester et al., 2010; Mahmood and Ibrahim, 2013), and one study used both Salivette and passive drool methods to collect saliva (Minetto et al., 2007). In comparison to passive drool, levels of salivary testosterone, DHEA, progesterone, and estradiol were found to be higher when collected using Salivettes, whereas salivary IgA levels were lower (Shirtcliff et al., 2001). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is burgeoning interest in the ability to detect inflammatory markers in response to stress within naturally occurring social contexts and/or across multiple time points per day within individuals. Salivary collection is a less invasive process than current methods of blood collection and enables intensive naturalistic methodologies, such as those involving extensive repeated measures per day over time. Yet the reliability and validity of saliva-based to blood-based inflammatory biomarkers in response to stress remains unclear. We review and synthesize the published studies that have examined salivary markers of inflammation following exposure to an acute laboratory stressor. Results from each study are reviewed by analyte (IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, CRP) and stress type (social-cognitive and exercise-physical), after which methodological issues and limitations are addressed. Although the literature is limited, several inflammatory markers (including IL-1β, TNF-α, and IL-6) have been reliably determined from saliva and have increased significantly in response to stress across multiple studies, with effect sizes ranging from very small to very large. Although CRP from saliva has been associated with CRP in circulating blood more consistently than other biomarkers have been associated with their counterparts in blood, evidence demonstrating it reliably responds to acute stress is absent. Although the current literature is presently too limited to allow broad assertion that inflammatory biomarkers determined from saliva are valuable for examining acute stress responses, this review suggests that specific targets may be valid and highlights specific areas of need for future research.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 09/2014; 44. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2014.08.008 · 5.89 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "In a recent study, Ramey et al. (2012) examined the inflammatory cytokine response in law enforcement officers and found that the job demand (physical and psychological) assessed by the Job Content Questionnaire was positively associated with resting IL-1 beta and IL-6. This finding is further supported by Groer et al. (2010) who demonstrated a significant increase in salivary IL-6 in police officers following simulated workplace scenario (6 min of tracking a gunman through a building. It is important to note that ~23% of law enforcement officers who reported metabolic syndrome were physically inactive (Yoo et al., 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Psychological stress has been proposed as a major contributor to the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Acute mental stress can activate the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) axis, eliciting the release of catecholamines (NE and EPI) resulting in the elevation of heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP). Combined stress (psychological and physical) can exacerbate these cardiovascular responses, which may partially contribute to the elevated risk of CVD and increased proportionate mortality risks experienced by some occupations (e.g., firefighting and law enforcement). Studies have supported the benefits of physical activity on physiological and psychological health, including the cardiovascular response to acute stress. Aerobically trained individuals exhibit lower sympathetic nervous system (e.g., HR) reactivity and enhanced cardiovascular efficiency (e.g., lower vascular reactivity and decreased recovery time) in response to physical and/or psychological stress. In addition, resistance training has been demonstrated to attenuate cardiovascular responses and improve mental health. This review will examine stress-induced cardiovascular reactivity and plausible explanations for how exercise training and physical fitness (aerobic and resistance exercise) can attenuate cardiovascular responses to stress. This enhanced functionality may facilitate a reduction in the incidence of stroke and myocardial infarction. Finally, this review will also address the interaction of obesity and physical activity on cardiovascular reactivity and CVD.
    Frontiers in Physiology 11/2013; 4:314. DOI:10.3389/fphys.2013.00314 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "IL-6 concentrations in our human sample are relatively low (see Table 1); however, our sample consists of young, healthy students. The levels observed in our study are comparable to IL-6 concentrations previously reported in oral fluids (Groer et al. 2010; Slavich et al. 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Inflammatory cytokine levels predict a wide range of human diseases including depression, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, general morbidity, and mortality. Stress and social experiences throughout the lifecourse have been associated with inflammatory processes. We conducted studies in humans and laboratory rats to examine the effect of early life experience and adult social position in predicting IL-6 levels. Human participants reported family homeownership during their childhood and current subjective social status. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) was measured from oral mucosal transudate. Rats were housed in groups of three, matched for quality of maternal care received. Social status was assessed via competition for resources, and plasma IL-6 was assessed in adulthood. In both humans and rats, we identified an interaction effect; early social experience moderated the effect of adult social status on IL-6 levels. Rats that experienced low levels of maternal care and people with low childhood socioeconomic status represented both the highest and lowest levels of IL-6 in adulthood, depending on their social status as young adults. The predicted interaction held for non-Hispanic people, but did not occur among Hispanic individuals. Adversity early in life may not have a monotonically negative effect on adult health, but may alter biological sensitivity to later social experiences.
    Brain Behavior and Immunity 05/2011; 25(8):1617-25. DOI:10.1016/j.bbi.2011.05.010 · 5.89 Impact Factor
Show more