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Psychological Distress and Post-Traumatic Symptoms Following Occupational Accidents

Department of General Psychology, University of Padova, Via Venezia, 8, 35131 Padova, Italy
Department of Psychology, Middlebury College, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, 276 Bicentennial Way, Middlebury, VT 05753, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(4), 587-600;
Received: 23 August 2013 / Revised: 15 October 2013 / Accepted: 21 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
PDF [175 KB, uploaded 25 October 2013]


Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder frequently occur as a consequence of occupational accidents. To date, research has been primarily focused on high-risk workers, such as police officers or firefighters, and has rarely considered individuals whose occupational environment involves the risk of severe, but not necessarily life-threatening, injury. Therefore, the present study was aimed at assessing the psychological consequences of accidents occurring in several occupational settings (e.g., construction and industry). Thirty-eight victims of occupational accidents (injured workers) and 38 gender-, age-, and years of education-matched workers who never experienced a work accident (control group) were recruited. All participants underwent a semi-structured interview administered by a trained psychologist, and then were requested to fill in the questionnaires. Injured workers reported more severe anxious, post-traumatic and depressive symptoms, and poorer coping skills, as compared to controls. In the injured group low levels of resilience predicted post-traumatic symptomatology, whereas the degree of physical injury and the length of time since the accident did not play a predictive role. The results suggest that occupational accidents may result in a disabling psychopathological condition, and that a brief psychological evaluation should be included in the assessment of seriously injured workers. View Full-Text
Keywords: work accidents; trauma; psychological distress; post-traumatic stress disorder; assessment work accidents; trauma; psychological distress; post-traumatic stress disorder; assessment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Ghisi, M.; Novara, C.; Buodo, G.; Kimble, M.O.; Scozzari, S.; Natale, A.D.; Sanavio, E.; Palomba, D. Psychological Distress and Post-Traumatic Symptoms Following Occupational Accidents. Behav. Sci. 2013, 3, 587-600.

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