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Eur Psychiatry. 2008 Sep;23(6):434-40. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Apr 18.

Psychiatric disorders after an accident: predictors and the influence of the psychiatric condition prior to an accident.

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  • 1Department of Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Münster, Domagkstrasse 22, D-48149 Münster, Germany.



The goal of this study is to assess prevalence and incidence of psychiatric sequelae in a sample of inpatient accident survivors. Such an attempt to assess psychiatric conditions that originate due to an accident seems to be important; this does not include psychiatric conditions already present prior to the accident.


208 accident victims were consecutively examined over a period of 12months using DSM-IV diagnostic assessment, CAPS, and self-evaluating questionnaires as well as ISS for injury severity. A predictor model for psychiatric disorders was set up.


Incidence of newly developed Axis I disorders in our sample was 14.2% (6months) and 12.3% (12months). Incidence of PTSD was 5.9% (6months) and 2.5% (12months). Comorbidity was a general phenomenon. The psychiatric condition prior to the accident could be identified as a predictor for the development of Axis I disorders. The subjectively evaluated intensity of experienced threat to life and female gender were the main predictors for the development of PTSD.


Accidents can lead to different psychiatric disorders. PTSD as a single diagnosis is rare. Without taking into account pre-existing disorders, the incidence may be overestimated. Two predictor models for the development of PTSD and other mental disorders are presented.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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