A model of Early Psychological Intervention for Direct and Indirect Road Victims

Jessica Burrai, Alessandro Quaglieri, Giulia Lausi, Angelo Fraschetti, Alessandro Couyoumdjian, Umberto Guidoni, Sandro Vedovi, Stefano Ferracuti, Anna Maria Giannini, Emanuela Mari


Road accidents are a major emergency in Europe, and several studies investigating road trauma victims have demonstrated their serious psychological consequences and their incidence related to several serious psychological disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders, depression, psychoactive substance abuse, Acute Stress Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The quality of assistance provided to the victims immediately after the event is crucial for both short- and long-term psychological consequences and can often explain the causes of post-traumatic morbidity. Based on these considerations, the paper presents a scientifically grounded early psychological intervention program that is specifically designed for road accident victims: ANIACARES.

ANIACARES provides psychosocial support to road trauma victims who suffered serious injuries and/or to their relatives. This model is inspired by the most-investigated protocols related to first-aid psychology, crisis intervention, and trauma-focused psychological interventions. ANIACARES aims to reduce the possible post-traumatic psychological effects, as well as to limit the decline in the life quality of family members, and of the seriously traumatized, by providing psychological counselling and support.

The program aims to support the victims during the different phases of the traumatic event to foster better emotion regulation strategies, to facilitate communication between victims and rescue personnel, to promote adherence to medical care, to promote the mourning process, to prevent the onset of post-traumatic psychopathologies, and to promote the resolution of conflicts. The validity of the model was evaluated by presenting the pre-and post-intervention results, focusing on several aspects of the individual’s well-being investigated on 125 road trauma victims categorized as Direct Victims, Indirect Victims with seriously Injured family members, and Indirect Victims with a Deceased family member. Results allow to support the validity of ANIACARES; in fact, an improvement in the general conditions of psychological health and well-being of the victims has been shown and on dimensions which mood and affectivity, memory, and speech. The relevance of ANIACARES does not lie solely in developing “new” clinical techniques or procedures, but rather in structuring a specific model of psychological support and supportive intervention for a population that is too often overlooked and on which the possible outcomes are well known.


Road accidents; Crash; trauma; Psychological support; Preventive intervention; Post-traumatic stress disorder.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13129/2282-1619/mjcp-3182


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