Active Shooter Training Drill Increases Blood and Salivary Markers of Stress




McAllister, Matthew
Martaindale, M. Hunter
Renteria, Liliana I.

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


Police officers are frequently engaged in a variety of high-stress scenarios, such as high-speed chases and other suspect conflicts, that cause significant increases in a variety of physiological and psychological stress markers. The purpose of this study was to investigate salivary and blood markers of stress in response to an active shooter training drill (ASD). Thirty-one participants (n = 31; males = 15, females = 16; Age: 21 ± 3.5 years) participated in an ASD involving professional actors playing the role of one active gunman, as well as four victims. The ASD lasted approximately 50 s. Blood samples were collected 15 min prior as well as after the ASD and analyzed for epinephrine (EPI) and norepinephrine (NE) levels. Saliva samples were collected 30 and 5 min prior to the ASD and 5 and 30 min after the ASD, were analyzed for cortisol, α-amylase, and secretory immunoglobulin-A (SigA). The ASD resulted in significant (p < 0.05) increases in EPI, α-amylase, and SigA levels. The increase in NE from pre to post ASD approached significance (p = 0.06). These results demonstrate that a short duration (~50 s) ASD results in significant increases in both blood and salivary markers of stress. These data may provide meaningful implications for those engaged in high-stress tactical occupations, especially law enforcement and military personnel, as chronic exposure to such occupational stressors can contribute to cardiometabolic disease.



police, adrenaline, hormones, law enforcement, tactical, cortisol, scenario training, sympathoadrenal axes, cardiometabolic health


McAllister, M. J., Martaindale, M. H., & Rentería, L. I. (2020). Active shooter training drill increases blood and salivary markers of stress. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(14), 5042.


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