Research Article| Volume 41, P188-194, December 2022

The experience of south Korean railroad drivers exposed to “person under train” incidents: A qualitative study

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Current affiliation: U1 University, 310 Daehak-ro, Yeongdong-eup, Yeongdong-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea.
    Youngjoo KIM
    1 Current affiliation: U1 University, 310 Daehak-ro, Yeongdong-eup, Yeongdong-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea.
    Seoul National University, College of Nursing, 103 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Current affiliation: U1 University, 310 Daehak-ro, Yeongdong-eup, Yeongdong-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea.


      • Narrative exploration helps to alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
      • Governmental trauma management programs are need for traumatized engineers.
      • Railroad engineers who experience trauma are likely to ruminate on its memory.
      • Reinterpreting traumatic experiences can positively impact one's quality of life.
      • Immediate immersion is needed following trauma, with long-term follow-up.


      A “person under train” (PUT) incident is a suicidal action involving a person throwing themselves at a moving train. This may cause trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to railroad drivers. This study investigated the experiences of railroad drivers of a PUT incident. Data were obtained from two drivers through in-depth interviews and personal narratives regarding their PUT experience and personal lives after the incident. Expressing thoughts through writing was an effective intervention that provided insights into their experience. Thus, an educational program combining mental health management and PTSD treatment is recommended for workers who experience such trauma.


      PUT (Person Under Train), PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Archives of Psychiatric Nursing
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Abbott R.
        • Young S.
        • Grant G.
        • Goward P.
        • Seager P.
        • Ludlow J.
        Railway suicide: an investigation of individual and organisational consequences.
        in: Project report. Doncaster and South Humber Healthcare NHS Trust, Doncaster, UK2003
        • Ayduk Ö.
        • Kross E.
        Analyzing negative experiences without ruminating: The role of self-distancing in enabling adaptive self-reflection.
        Social and Personality Psychology Compass. 2010; 4: 841-854
        • Bardon C.
        • Mishara B.L.
        Systematic review of the impact of suicides and other critical incidents on railway personnel.
        Suicide and Life-Threating Behavior. 2015; 45: 720-731
        • Briem V.
        • de Lima S.
        • Siotis C.
        Train drivers and fatal accidents on the rails: Psychological aspects and safety.
        in: Wilson J.R. Norris B. Clarke T. Mills A. People and rail systems: Human factors at the heart of the railway. 1st ed. Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2007: 103-111
        • Cheung J.
        • Bryant R.A.
        The impact of appraisals on intrusive memories.
        Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 2017; 54: 108-111
        • Clandinin D.J.
        • Connelly F.M.
        Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research.
        (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass, 2000
        • Clark D.M.
        • Wells A.A.
        Cognitive model of social phobia.
        in: Heimberg R.G. Liebowitz M.R. Hope D.A. Schneier F.R. Social phobia: Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. 1st ed. The Guilford Press, 1995: 69-93
        • Doroga C.
        • Băban A.
        Traumatic exposure and posttraumatic symptoms for train drivers involved in railway incidents.
        Clujul Medical. 2013; 86: 144
        • Ehlers S.
        Strain and stress relation until fracture for finite element simulations of a thin circular plate.
        Thin-Walled Structures. 2010; 48: 1-8
        • Farmer R.
        • Tranah T.
        • O'Donnell I.
        • Catalan J.
        Railway suicide: The psychological effects on drivers.
        Psychological Medicine. 1992; 22: 407-414
        • Frazier P.
        • Schauben L.
        Causal attributions and recovery from rape and other stressful life events.
        Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. 1994; 13: 1-14
        • Giupponi G.
        • Thoma H.
        • Lamis D.
        • Forte A.
        • Pompili M.
        • Kapfhammer H.P.
        Posttraumatic stress reactions of underground drivers after suicides by jumping to arriving trains; feasibility of an early stepped care outpatient intervention.
        Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. 2019; 20: 495-510
        • Guba E.G.
        • Lincoln Y.S.
        Competing paradigms in qualitative research. Handbook of qualitative research. 2. Sage Publications, Inc., 1994: 105
        • Hannabuss S.
        Research interviews. New library world. 97. 1996: 22-30
        • Hye-seon J.
        The differences of post-traumatic psychological symptoms following characteristics of autobiographical trauma memory.
        ([Master’s thesis]) Ewha Womans University, Seoul (in Korean), 2012
        • Jo I.
        • Sung G.
        • Lee K.
        Exposure frequency of job-related trauma types and PTSD symptoms of firefighters: The moderating effect of anger rumination.
        Anxiety Mood. 2018; 14 (in Korean): 1-6
        • Kenardy J.
        • Tan L.J.
        The role of avoidance coping in the disclosure of trauma.
        Behaviour Change. 2006; 23: 42-54
        • Korail
        Human error research committee study report.
        2012 (in Korean)
        • Maercker A.
        • Horn A.B.
        A socio-interpersonal perspective on PTSD: The case for environments and interpersonal processes.
        Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 2013; 20: 465-481
        • McFarlane A.C.
        The long-term costs of traumatic stress: Intertwined physical and psychological consequences.
        World Psychiatry. 2010; 9: 3
        • Mor N.
        • Winquist J.
        Self-focused attention and negative affect: A meta-analysis.
        Psychological Bulletin. 2002; 128: 638-662
        • Nigro G.
        • Neisser U.
        Point of view in personal memories.
        Cognitive Psychology. 1983; 15: 467-482
        • Park J.I.
        • Jeon M.
        The stigma of mental illness in Korea.
        Journal of Korean Neuropsychiatric Association. 2016; 55: 299-309
        • Polizzi C.P.
        • Aksen D.E.
        • Lynn S.J.
        Quality of life, emotion regulation, and dissociation: Evaluating unique relations in an undergraduate sample and probable PTSD subsample.
        Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. 2021;
        • Polkinghorne D.E.
        Narrative knowing and the human sciences.
        Suny Press, 1988
        • Shin H.-K.
        The effect of negative affectivity, alexithymia, somato-sensory amplification, and somatic attribution on somatization: Test of a linear mediation model.
        Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2000; 19 (in Korean): 17-32
        • Sloan D.M.
        • Sawyer A.T.
        • Lowmaster S.E.
        • Wernick J.
        • Marx B.P.
        Efficacy of narrative writing as an intervention for PTSD: Does the evidence support its use?.
        Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. 2015; 45: 215-225
        • Smeets T.
        • Giesbrecht T.
        • Raymaekers L.
        • Shaw J.
        • Merckelbach H.
        Autobiographical integration of trauma memories and repressive coping predict post-traumatic stress symptoms in undergraduate students.
        Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy: An International Journal of Theory & Practice. 2010; 17: 211-218
        • Steil R.
        • Ehlers A.
        Dysfunctional meaning of posttraumatic intrusions in chronic PTSD.
        Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2000; 38: 537-558
        • Taylor D.
        Family literacy: Young children learning to read and write.
        Heinemann Educational Books Inc., 1983
        • Thompson L.M.
        The political mythology of apartheid.
        (1st ed.). Yale University Press, 1985
        • Tranah T.
        • Farmer R.D.
        Psychological reactions of drivers to railway suicide.
        Social Science & Medicine. 1994; 38: 459-469
        • Van der Kolk B.A.
        • Fisler R.
        Dissociation and the fragmentary nature of traumatic memories: Overview and exploratory study.
        Journal of Traumatic Stress. 1995; 8: 505-525