Road traffic accidents

What are trauma characteristics?

For a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, at least one trauma is required. Traumas as determined by the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) include being exposed to threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. Examples are direct exposure, witnessing the trauma, or learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma. Traumas can also be encountered in the course of professional duties. Differences in trauma characteristics, along with differences in personal characteristics, may affect the risk of developing PTSD.

What is the evidence for PTSD in people exposed to car accidents?

Moderate quality evidence finds the overall prevalence of PTSD in people after a road traffic accident is around 22.25%. Rates were highest in females, in Black people, in people living in the USA, and in people without a college education.

The prevalence of PTSD in children and adolescents after road traffic accidents is 19.95%. Rates were highest in females and in studies located in children living in the UK.

August 2021

Image: ©delightimages –

Last updated at: 12:46 am, 6th August 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.