Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Psychological debriefing for road traffic accident victims: Three-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial

  • R. A. Mayou (a1), A. Ehlers (a1) and M. Hobbs (a2)
Abstract
Background

Psychological debriefing is widely used for trauma victims but there is uncertainty about its efficacy. We have previously reported a randomised controlled trial which concluded that at 4 months it was ineffective.

Aims

To evaluate the 3-year outcome in a randomised controlled trial of debriefing for consecutive subjects admitted to hospital following a road traffic accident.

Method

Patients were assessed in hospital by the Impact of Event Scale (IES), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and questionnaire and re-assessed at 3 months and 3 years. The intervention was psychological debriefing as recommended and described in the literature.

Results

The intervention group had a significantly worse outcome at 3 years in terms of general psychiatric symptoms (BSI), travel anxiety when being a passenger, pain, physical problems, overall level of functioning, and financial problems. Patients who initially had high intrusion and avoidance symptoms (IES) remained symptomatic if they had received the intervention, but recovered if they did not receive the intervention.

Conclusions

Psychological debriefing is ineffective and has adverse long-term effects. It is not an appropriate treatment for trauma victims.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Psychological debriefing for road traffic accident victims
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Psychological debriefing for road traffic accident victims
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Psychological debriefing for road traffic accident victims
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor R. A. Mayou, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX. Tel: (+44) 1865-226477; fax (+44) 1865-793101
Footnotes
Hide All

Declaration of interest

Grant from the Oxford Region Health Services Research Committee.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (1990) The Abbreviated Injury Scale (1990 revision). Des Plaines, IL: Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.
Bisson, J. I. & Deahl, M. P. (1994) Psychological debriefing and prevention of post-traumatic stress. More research is needed. British Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 717720.
Bisson, J. I., Jenkins, P. L., Alexander, J., et al (1997) Randomised controlled trial of psychological debriefing for victims of acute burn trauma. British Journal of Psychiatry, 171, 7881.
Conlon, L., Fahy, T. J. & Conroy, R. (1999) PTSD in ambulant RTA victims: a randomized controlled trial of debriefing. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 46, 3744.
Dyregrov, A. (1989) Caring for helpers in disaster situations: psychological debriefing. Disaster Management, 2, 2530.
Hobbs, M., Mayou, R., Harrison, B., et al (1996) A randomised controlled trial of psychological debriefing for victims of road traffic accidents. British Medical Journal, 313, 14381439.
Horowitz, H., Wilner, N. & Alvarez, W. (1979) Impact of Events Scale. A measure of subjective stress. Psychological Medicine, 41, 209212.
Mayou, R. A. (1987) A British view of liaison psychiatry. General Hospital Psychiatry, 9, 1824.
Mayou, R. A., Bryant, B. & Duthie, R. (1993) Psychiatric consequences of road traffic accidents. British Medical Journal, 307, 647651.
Mitchell, J. T. (1983) When disaster strikes: the critical incident stress debriefing process. Journal of Emergency Medical Services, 8, 3639.
Raphael, B., Meldrum, L. & McFarlane, A. C. (1995) Does debriefing after psychological trauma work? Time for randomised controlled trials. British Medical Journal, 310, 14791480.
Wessely, S., Rose, S. & Bisson, J. (1998) A systematic review of brief psychological interventions (“debriefing”) for the treatment of immediate trauma related symptoms and the prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder. Cochrane Library, vol. 4. Oxford: Update Software
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 68 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 235 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 21st June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Psychological debriefing for road traffic accident victims: Three-year follow-up of a randomised controlled trial

  • R. A. Mayou (a1), A. Ehlers (a1) and M. Hobbs (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *