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Psychological sequelae of minor motor vehicle accidents, vulnerability and protective factors

by Gore, Georgina Ingrid

Abstract (Summary)
PSYCHOLOGICAL SEQUELAE OF MINOR MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS: VULNERABILITY AND PROTECTIVE FACTORS Georgina tngrid Gore Degree of Doctor of Education, 1997 Graduate Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology, University of Toronto This study examined the psychological sequelae of minor motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). One hundred adult volunteers were assessed for symptoms of depression. anxiety. intrusion and avoidance resulting from the minor MVA usinp standardized measures It was hypothesized that a group of Mctirns of minor MVAs would report severe psychological symptoms resardless the mjnor nature of their accidents and that the group with severe symptoms would differ from the group with minimal symptoms in the intewening variables- It was also prediƧted that the hostility received in the recovery environment would have a more significant relationship to psychologica1 symptornatolo~y than the support received. Twenty five percent of the sample reported severe depression and 47% reported severe ansiety Significant levels of post traumatic stress were reported by 65O.0 of the participants involved in minor MVh. Results indicate that the experience of the MVA as threatening to the victim's life is a factor which increase vulnerability for higher psychological symptomatology afier minor MV.4s. Significant patterns of relationships among the different symptom severity groups and the pre-MVA. MVA and post-MVA variables were found using MANOVA. Individuals with a tendency to experience negative affects were found to be at risk to develop severe levels of anxiety and depression following a minor MVA but this vulnerability was not found to have an effect on the severity of post-traumatic symptoms. Results suggest that the exposure to previous traumatic events do not predispose MVA victims to higher symptomatology afker a minor MVA but that previous experiences of traumatic events in which there has been a death threat may have a vulnerability effect. This vulnerability effect rnay be related to reactivation of traumatic mernories. The incidence of severe symptomatology fier a minor MVA was comparable to results of research involving severely injured MVA victims, suggesting that the seventy of the injury in a 1TC-Amay not play an essential role in the development of psychological symptoms. instead, subjective factors such as fear for one's life and environmental factors such as hostility in the recovery environment, may play a more significant role in the severity of symptornatology. Hostility received in the recovery environment accounted for more of the psychological symptom variance of the MVX sarnple than the support received. The findings of the current research point to the impact of negative relationships in the post-MVA environment and to the detrimental effects of a hostile family environment in the development of severe psychological symptoms. Social s~ppon was not found to be a protective factor for symptom seventy. The lack of importance of support as a protective variable for psychological symptoms after minor MVAs in the context of the significant importance of hostility as a vulnerability factor is perhaps the most interesting finding of the present study.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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