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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Experts to study trauma
Woman in distress
Victims can suffer nightmares and flashbacks
The UK's first major study into post traumatic stress is to be carried out by researchers at Aberdeen University.

The study will attempt to measure how many people are affected by the disorder after they witness or are involved in serious crime, industrial accidents or car crashes.

The ultimate aim of the research is to improve services available at community level for treating victims of trauma.

Those affected with the disorder often suffer symptoms such as flashbacks and nightmares.

Although the condition has become better understood in recent years, most of the studies have focused on people who have survived major disasters or who have experienced life-threatening situations during military service.

Pilot study

Researchers at Aberdeen University will approach 500 people across north east Scotland as part of a pilot study which will then pave the way for a national survey.

Lead researcher Dr Susan Klein is hoping for a good response from the respondents who take part in the survey.

She said: "The sample is regionally representative and selected at random from GP lists.

"The study has to include participants who have experienced trauma and some who have not, for comparison purposes.

"Volunteers will be offered a telephone interview carried out by a doctor, with the aim of selecting a final 50 for a face-to-face interview."

The study will allow the team to participate in an international survey of health and stress conducted by the World Health Organisation, which currently involves 35 countries worldwide.

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