Children and adolescents injured in traffic – associated psychological consequences: a literature review

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Abstract

Aim

To identify the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and PTSD symptoms (PTSS) among children and adolescents injured in traffic, and to assess predictors of such post-traumatic stress.

Methods

Studies identified from electronic databases were reviewed.

Results

Based on a review of 12 studies, fulfilling specified criteria, the prevalence of PTSS was estimated at 30% within 1 month and 13% at 3–6 months. The prevalence of PTSD was almost 30% at 1–2 months and decreased to the same level as PTSS at 3–6 months. Perceived threat and high levels of distress, anxiety symptoms and being female were significantly associated with PTSD and PTSS. Injury severity was positively related to the number of PTSD symptoms in one of eight studies. Types of accident, age and socioeconomic status were not related to the development of PTSD/PTSS.

Conclusion

Any child will be at risk of PTSD/PTSS, not just those with severe injuries. Trauma care should include procedures that could identify and prevent stress reactions in order to minimize the risk of associated psychological consequences.

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