Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Motor Vehicle Accidents in Tunisian Patients: An Observational Study
Feki Ines*, Sellami Rim, Masmoudi Rim,Guermazi Fatma, Ben Salah Marwa, Keskes Hassib, Masmoudi Jaweher
Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains underestimated and under-investigated by trauma specialists who are more likely to be sought for physical complaints than for emotional distress.
Objectives: This paper aimed at:
- specifying the clinical characteristics of a population of motor vehicle accidents (MVA) survivors.
- determining the prevalence of PTSD and establishing the link between PTSD and emotional, anxious and depressive disorders.
Subjects and Methods: Our study was observational, analytical, and cross-sectional; it investigated 120 MVA survivors, attending the outpatient consultation of the Orthopedics Department in Sfax, Tunisia, and who presented traumata of different degrees of severity. We used the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) to assess the severity of trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Scale (PCL-S) to measure post-traumatic stress and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD) to evaluate anxiety and depression.
Results: The population under study was relatively young, made of male patients mainly, who were from rural areas, and who had a low socio-economic status and who were without medical and surgical antecedents. In this population, prevalence of PTSD was 54.17%. The risk factors to develop PTSD were: female gender, rural area origin, passivity during MVA and disability resulting from exposure to MVA. In terms of comorbidity, anxiety and depression disorders were strongly correlated with PTSD (p<10-3).
Conclusion: If physical disability resulting from MVA is clearly observable, the psychiatric sequelae of MVA such as PTSD are rather difficult to assess. Hence, screening tests are required as they may improve clinical management.