Coping and psychological distress in children involved in road traffic accidents

P Stallard, R Velleman, J Langsford, S Baldwin

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113 Citations (SciVal)


Objective. The purpose of this study is to detail the natural coping strategies used by children involved in everyday road traffic accidents (RTAs). The relationship between coping strategies, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), gender and age was investigated. Design. Children aged 7-18 who attended an accident and emergency department following involvement in a RTA were assessed, G weeks after their accident (N = 97). A subgroup of 36 children were re-assessed approximately 8 months after the trauma. Methods. The presence of PTSD was determined via a semi-structured interview incorporating the Clinician Administered post-traumatic Scale for Children (CAPS-C). Self-completed psychometric assessments were undertaken to assess the presence of clinically significant levels of depression (Birleson Depression Inventory), anxiety (Revised Manifest Anxiety Scale) and coping style (Kidcope). Results. Children involved in RTAs used between 5 and 7 different coping strategies. Younger children and those with PTSD used more strategies than older children and those not suffering from PTSD. Children with PTSD were more likely to use the strategies of distraction, social withdrawal, emotional regulation and blaming others. Conclusion. The limitations of Kidcope are discussed and the need to develop more complex ways of assessing childhood coping within a developmental framework highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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ID number: ISI:000169433200009


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