Psychological consequences of motor vehicle accidents: A systematic review

Elsevier, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, Volume 89, August 2022
Marasini G., Caleffi F., Machado L.M., Pereira B.M.

People involved in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) are at increased risk for psychological problems. Although the existing literature states that MVAs cause substantial negative mental health effects, summarizing and comparing these effects to understand their consequences could be more explored. This systematic literature review provides an overview of the literature surrounding the psychological consequences of MVAs to summarize and quantify their effects on mental health. The studies published in an English-language journal in the last 20 years (2001–2021) that present psychological consequences of MVAs were included. Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed databases were used for the literature search. The systematic literature search found 23 eligible studies. After identifying all relevant studies on the topic, we synthesized the applied psychological assessment methods and the psychological consequences of MVAs. Current gaps in the reviewed papers and what future research are needed are also discussed. Results indicated that negative psychological consequences following an MVA are substantial, with all studies pointing to negative consequences in at least one psychopathology. Trauma-related MVA injuries are associated with elevated psychological distress, and MVA-related psychological consequences could have long-term effects if left untreated.