PTSD after road accidents

Road traffic accidents

How are road traffic accidents related to PTSD?

Exposure to at least one trauma is required for a diagnosis of PTSD. The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) determines direct traumas as threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence. Indirect traumas include witnessing the trauma, or learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma. Differences in trauma characteristics, including the severity and type of exposure, can affect the risk of developing PTSD. Personal characteristics such as age and sex also influence risk.

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

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Last updated at: 1:15 am, 12th October 2021
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