Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Among Victims of Motor Vehicle Accidents

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Abstract

Objective

This study identified factors that predict individual vulnerability to psychological trauma by examining the relationships among situation and person variables and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 1, 6, and 12 months after a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA).

Methods

Background characteristics, exposure variables (ie, injury severity and accident characteristics), and psychosocial variables (ie, perceived loss of control, social support, and coping) were used to predict symptoms of PTSD and recovery in 115 injured MVA victims. All participants were injured during the MVA and provided data prospectively over the course of a year after their accidents.

Results

Along with background and exposure variables, use of wishful thinking coping distinguished between victims with and without symptoms of PTSD.

Conclusions

Psychosocial variables such as wishful thinking coping can be used to identify MVA victims who are at risk of developing chronic posttraumatic stress and warrant further investigation.

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