Introduction: The coping strategies, resilience and psychological distress of members of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (FFLM) were measured in an attempt to establish how they are affected by, and accommodate potentially traumatic encounters with patients. Belief in a just world was also measured as it was deemed to be a mediating factor in the psychological distress exhibited in the medical practitioners who participated in this study.
Methods: 120 members of the FFLM (65 females, 54 males and 1 undisclosed) volunteered to complete an online survey. Data was collected using Survey Monkey. Participants filled out the Personal Belief in a Just World Scale and General Belief in a Just World Scale, as well as the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale 25, the COPE and the Brief Symptom Inventory.
Results: A multiple regression with stepwise entry was carried out. Personal belief in a just world, coping strategies and resilience were all identified as having a significant relationship with psychological distress.
Conclusions: Although this is only a preliminary study into this phenomenon, findings suggest the personal belief in a just world, coping strategies and resilience are useful predictors of psychological distress amongst forensic medical practitioners. However they did not predict the majority of the variance and as such, so more detailed investigations are needed to identify which other factors are important in order to design interventions and support for members of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine and other forensic medical practitioners.
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