Assessment and Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder After a Motor Vehicle Collision: Empirical Findings and Clinical Observations


Individuals who experience a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA) are at increased risk for psychological problems, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this article, we review the literature on PTSD among MVA survivors, with particular attention to available instruments to screen for and assess symptomatology of the disorder. Approaches to the treatment of PTSD in this population are reviewed, separated into interventions designed to prevent PTSD in unselected samples, treatment targeting individuals with acute stress disorder that is designed to prevent subsequent development of PTSD, and therapy for individuals with chronic PTSD. Treatment process issues are discussed in an effort to integrate empirical findings with clinical observations. The empirical literature suggests several approaches to treatment that have good potential outcomes, although continued work is needed to identify factors that predict treatment response as well as augment individual-based treatment formats. © 2007 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice