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BackgroundThere is a known connection between physical injury and disability and emotional distress. Several investigators have shown a relationship between trauma, depression, and poor outcomes. The literature on trauma and depression is limited with regard to clarifying the relationship between the degree of injury and depression and the relationship between physical function of patients with less severe injuries and depression.MethodsOne hundred and sixty-one patients who presented to our orthopaedic trauma services were enrolled in the study and interviewed. We obtained information about patient demographics and administered several self-reported outcome measures: the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment (SMFA), and the Physical Function-10 (PF-10) subset of the Short Form-36 (SF-36). We documented the nature and severity of the injury or injuries and calculated correlations between the outcome measures and the BDI. Injury-specific factors such as the AO Fracture Classification, the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), the Injury Severity Score (ISS), and the Gustilo and Anderson grade of open fractures were also examined.ResultsFifty-five percent of the patients had minimal depression, as measured with the BDI; 28% had moderate depression; 13% had moderate-to-severe depression; and 3.7% had severe depression. When the somatic elements of the BDI were removed, the prevalence of moderate, moderate-to-severe, or severe depression was 26%. The SMFA scores had a strong negative correlation with the BDI (− 0.75; p < 0.001). Of the injury-specific factors, only open factures were found to have an impact on the presence of depression, with an odds ratio of 4.58 (95% confidence ratio, 1.57 to 12.35).ConclusionsThe prevalence of clinically relevant depression approached 45% in a diverse cohort of orthopaedic trauma patients. Global disability is strongly correlated with depression. The presence of an open fracture may also increase the risk of depression.Level of EvidencePrognostic Level II. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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