[Short-term psychological consequences of car accidents: an empirical study]

Riv Psichiatr. Nov-Dec 2009;44(6):409-17.
[Article in Italian]


Aim: Aim of this study is to investigate short-term (3 and 5 months) psychological consequences of severe motor-vehicle accidents.

Methods: The sample under investigation is composed of two groups: 8 survivors of severe motor-vehicle accidents with spinal cord injuries (SCI) hospitalized in a Spinal Cord Unit, and 6 survivors who did not require hospitalization. All subjects were assessed twice, three and five months after the accident, on a variety of measures including the CAPS and the BDI-SF.

Results: Prevalence of PTSD in the total sample was, 3 months after the accident, 14% with no significant differences between the two groups; some peculiarities in the symptomathological profile emerged as much as subjects with SCI experience avoidance of trauma-related stimuli more frequently. An overall decline in frequency and severity of post-traumatic symptoms between the two assessments was observed in the total sample, though some components (Criterion C symptoms) showed no relevant variations over time. Finally, depressive symptoms, which were characterized by higher severity in the SCI group, showed a significant decline between the two assessments.

Discussion: Our data, although based on a limited sample, might help in tailoring psychological interventions for prevention and treatment of PTSD in survivors of severe motor accidents.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult