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