The psychological effects of road traffic accidents on children and adolescents following admission to an accident and emergency department

Phipps, Valerie Lily (2000). The psychological effects of road traffic accidents on children and adolescents following admission to an accident and emergency department. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e2d9

Abstract

Objectives: - The present research attempts to elicit children's perceptions and experiences of enduring a road traffic accident (RTA). It also examined their parents experiences of parenting such children and their own experiences and perceptions of the accident.

Participants: - The study focussed on 14 children, aged from 9 years 9 months- 14 years and 4 months of age who had endured a RTA from between 9 - 33 months previously and their parents.

Design: - The study employed a non-experimental design with a combination of quantitative and qualitative paradigms.

Method: - The participants were identified via the h6spitaI data base of all children who had endured a RTA from between 6 - 24 months previously. Both the children and their parents were interviewed on specifically designed semi-structured interview schedules. Each interview was then tape-recorded and transcribed in its entirety. These transcripts then provided the universe of material for subsequent qualitative analysis.

Results:- The results of this study demonstrated that approximately half of the children who had experienced a RTA were suffering from a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, the PTSD case children differed from the non-case children on factors such as awareness of the inpending RTA, feelings of self-blame regarding the accident, and more negative thoughts regarding their experience immediately after the impact and at the time of the assessment. In addition, the parents of the case children displayed similar responses to that of their children.

Conclusion: - A theoretical Model was presented to account for the main findings in response to the research questions, also drawing on existing research. It is emphasised that this model is speculative due to the small sample size insofar as it draws upon the present findings, and as such can only relate to this study sample and further research would be required to fully test and validate it. In addition, recommendations were made for service delivery and clinical practice.

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