Purpose: To describe predictors of PTSD after motor vehicle crashes (MVC).
Methods: MVC patients were interviewed during their hospitalization and at 6 and 12 months post-injury. Interviews included information about behavioral factors, circumstances around the crash, recovery and PTSD screening. PTSD was defined as the development of 3 or more of 7 PTSD symptoms. Association of risk factors with PTSD development at 6 and 12 months was analyzed using contingency tables. Multiple regression models were built for the prediction of PTSD.
Results: 367 and 317 patients completed the 6 and 12 month interviews respecively. PTSD developed in 27.5 % (n=101) and 24.3 % (n=77) of the population at 6 and 12 months repectively. PTSD occurred more frequently among females, those with a previous history of depression, violent injury, or other traumatic events, and those whose crashes involved a fatality. Those who were culpable for the crash, age<30, and sustained brain injuries were less likely to develop PTSD at 6 months. Occupant position, education, marital status, alcohol problems, injury severity, heart rate, and blood alcohol + status did not show any significant association with PTSD. In the multiple logistic regression, female gender, history of depression, culpabilty, prior violent injury, and a fatality in the crash were associated with PTSD at 6 months. Only prior violent injury, and a death in same crash were predictors at one year.
Conclusion: PTSD occurs frequently after MVCs. Female gender, prior violent injury, death of another occupant and history of depression are associated with PTSD development.