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J Psychosom Res. 1999 Jan;46(1):37-44.

PTSD in ambulant RTA victims: a randomized controlled trial of debriefing.

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Department of Psychiatry, Clinical Science Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland.


This report examines initial distress levels, course of symptoms, incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), predictors of short-term outcome, and value of prophylactic counseling in a consecutive series of 40 ambulant trauma clinic attenders with minor road traffic accident (RTA) injuries. Subjects were randomly allocated to intervention and monitoring groups following assessment at a mean of 7 days posttrauma and reassessed at 3 months using a variety of standard rating scales. Seventy-five percent reported significant levels of distress at 1 week posttrauma. By 3 months this had decreased sharply to 35%, and 22% were significantly impaired by clinical assessment. Incidence of PTSD over 3 months was estimated at 19% and point prevalence at 3 months posttrauma was 9%. High initial distress, increasing age, and high levels of perceived threat were significant independent predictors of morbidity, and no significant differences in outcome were found between intervention and monitoring groups at 3 months.

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