Journal of Traumatic Stress

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 419–427 | Cite as

The kings cross fire: Psychological reactions

  • Stuart W. Turner
  • James Thompson
  • Rachel M. Rosser


The psychological reactions of 50 survivors of the King's Cross fire, which hit London's underground railway system on the 18th day of November 1987, are described. Results are presented for the Impact of Event scale, the General Health Questionnaire (28-item version), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and a King's Cross Event Schedule. These are investigated in relation to (a) validity measures, (b) relationships between exposure and personality, and (c) spontaneous de-briefing. Two thirds of the sample had significant levels of psychological distress (meeting the “caseness” criterion on the GHQ). Both personality (neuroticism and L-scale) and degree of trauma exposure were related to subsequent reaction. Spontaneous debriefing was associated with subjective benefit. Transportation disasters present particular problems in relation to research and service delivery.

Key words

railway fire traumatic stress reactions dose-response personality debriefing 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart W. Turner
    • 1
  • James Thompson
    • 2
  • Rachel M. Rosser
    • 3
  1. 1.Camden & Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust, & Honorary Senior LecturerUniversity College London School of MedicineLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University College London School of MedicineLondonUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.University College London School of MedicineLondonUnited Kingdom

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