State of damage to and support for victims of motor vehicle accidents in Japan

Individuals are likely to be involved in at least one motor vehicle accident (MVA) during their lifetime. MVAs can have a significant impact on both the victims and their families; in the case of death, the bereaved family may face mental health problems. Ongoing studies have focused on devising strategies to support victims and their families who face such problems.This paper clarifies the reality of mental health issues of MVA victims and reviews the current state of victim support available in Japan, its significance and other relevant issues.The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in MVA survivors has been estimated to be 8%–45% one month after the accident and 6%–40% six months after the accident. The mental health of the survivors' families, bereaved families, and orphaned children are usually affected after MVAs. Bereaved families experience not only PTSD but also symptoms of complicated grief. Based on studies using different scales to measure symptoms and other items, symptoms of PTSD and complicated grief have been seen in 17%–75% and 6%–61% of bereaved families, respectively, which were much higher than those observed in the general population. In addition to the actual physical and mental damage caused by MVAs, it is necessary to take notice of survivors who are exposed to post-accident secondary victimization.Justice agencies, such as the National Police Agency and Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, as well as victim support centers and self-help groups, provide support to MVA victims. To a certain extent, evaluating support provided to MVA victims and their families is possible by initiating assistance promptly and actively using leaflets, brochures, and other materials. The literature reports that women are at increased risk for developing PTSD and complicated grief; also, men and women use different mechanisms for coping with stress. Moreover, men tend not to express their pain and try to manage it on their own. Thus, support that is appropriate for both sexes must be provided. In the future, the effectiveness of the support provided should be evaluated by survivors. Whether acute-phase support leads to improvement in survivors' long-term prognoses must also be investigated.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01715751
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 21 2019 3:07PM