A railway accident which occurred in Lac-Megantic in Quebec, Canada, caused disruption for an entire community. This study examines the psychosocial difficulties in a group of exposed adolescents aged between 11 to 17, nine months after the tragedy. The analyses were conducted on a sample of 515 adolescents, attending high school, and living near the impact area. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental health problems (depression, anxiety), and problem use of alcohol or drugs prevalence were estimated. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify risk factors for PTSD clinical threshold. Almost half (43.4%) of adolescents reported being severely exposed to the railway accident and one third (31.3%) have reported a PTSD. Serious injuries, depression and anxiety (p < .05) were associated with greater risks for adolescents with a PTSD. However, sex, victimization, and emerging problems or problem use of alcohol or drugs are not associated with the PTSD. The results of the study highlight the relationship between a traumatic event such as the railway accident and the presence of PTSD nine months after, as well as risk factors for PTSD in adolescents. Paying close attention to mental health problems in adolescents when a traumatic event occurs and provide adequate aid is essential.
Keywords: Adolescents; Anxiety; Depression; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Problematic substance use; Railway accident.