The connection between childhood trauma and the psychological trauma brought on by car crashes is to be examined as part of the first study of its kind carried out here.
Researchers from Dublin City University (DCU) and NUI Galway (NUIG) are to collaborate on the study in a bid to understand why some people are more vulnerable to suffering emotional trauma following a road traffic collision, even a minor one.
Examining it from the perspective of road users impacted by traffic accidents, the study is seeking to find any link between the distress of childhood trauma, such as physical, mental or sexual abuse, and that of the emotional trauma of a collision.
In particular, the study examines how a difficult experience in childhood may lead to an increased risk of emotional distress following a collision in adulthood.
“We are continually interested in getting a better understanding of why people experience distress,” said Rosaleen McElvaney, of the School of Nursing, Psychotherapy and Community Health at DCU.
“The reasons are complex but this study could go some way to help us identify those who are more vulnerable to experiencing psychological distress following a road traffic accident.”
It is not uncommon for people to experience psychological trauma after road traffic collisions, according to Kiran Sarma, of the School of Psychology at NUIG.
“This research will help us investigate some of the processes that may be implicated in the emergence of trauma in this context,” said Dr Sarna.
Both researchers are now seeking participants for their study, to be conducted via online survey.
Prospective respondents are advised that they do not have to have been involved in a road traffic collision to complete the questionnaire.
The questionnaire can be completed by anyone who drives any form of motorised transport, such as a car, bus, motorbike, etc.
Those taking part will be asked about their childhood, and any adverse experiences they may have had.
The participants will also be asked about their adult relationships and how they manage stress.
It is expected that the findings from the study will go on to inform mental health professionals who work with those who have been involved in a collision and subsequently seek support for the psychological impact of the event.
The survey can be found at: nuig-psychology.ie/index.php/979575?lang=en