Road traffic accidents and posttraumatic stress disorder in an orthopedic setting in South-Eastern Nigeria: a controlled study

Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2011 Jun 22;19:39. doi: 10.1186/1757-7241-19-39.


Background: Psychiatric liaison services are rare in trauma units of various hospitals in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries. The occurrence of road traffic accidents (RTAs) resulting from low standard of road construction and inadequate maintenance have been on the increase in Nigeria. While the physical consequences of such RTAs are obvious, the psychological consequences are often not apparent. This study assessed the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among victims of RTAs and compared same with controls drawn from a population who have not experienced RTAs. It also assessed the associated socio-demographic variables.

Method: Study population consisted of one hundred and fifty RTA victims and two different control groups drawn from the population consisting of staffs of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria and that of National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria, 150 people in each control group were matched for age and sex with the RTA victims and they were interviewed with PTSD module of Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and their socio-demographic variables obtained with socio-demographic questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of PTSD among RTA victims and the two control groups were 26.7%, 8.0% and 8.7% respectively. The difference in prevalence was statistically significant with RTA victims more likely to experience PTSD compared to the two control groups (X² = 27.23, df = 2, p = 0.001). Gender influenced the prevalence of PTSD among victims of RTAs and the controls, with females more likely to experience PTSD when compared to the males. Among victims of RTAs, being gainfully employed prior to the accidents increased the likelihood of developing PTSD and this was statistically significant (X² = 20.09, df = 1, p = 0.000).

Conclusions: There is urgent need to pay more attention to developing consultation-liaison psychiatry services in trauma units of Nigerian hospitals, including orthopedic hospitals located in different geographical zones of the country.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Orthopedics / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Young Adult