Post-traumatic stress, depression, and community integration a long time after whiplash injury

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Britt-Marie Stålnacke *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Britt-Marie Stålnacke | brittmarie.stalnacke@rehabmed.umu.se

Abstract

Psychological factors such as post-traumatic stress and depression may play an important role in the recovery after whiplash injuries. Difficulties in psychosocial functioning with limitations in everyday life may dominate for some time after the injury. Our study therefore investigates the relationships between pain, post-traumatic stress, depression, and community integration. A set of questionnaires was answered by 191 persons (88 men, 103 women) five years after a whiplash injury to assess pain intensity (visual analogue scale, VAS), whiplash-related symptoms, post-traumatic stress (impact of event scale, IES), depression (Beck depression inventory, BDI-II), community integration (community integration questionnaire, CIQ), life satisfaction (LiSat-11). One or more depressive symptoms were reported by 74% of persons; 22% reported scores that were classified as mild to severe depression. The presence of at least one post-traumatic symptom was reported by 70% of persons, and 38% reported mild to severe stress. Total scores of community integration for women were statistically significantly higher than for men. The total VAS score was correl-ated positively to the IES (r=0.456, P less than 0.456), the BDI (r=0.646, P less than 0.001), and negatively to the CIQ (r=-0.300, P less than 0.001). These results highlight the view that a significant proportion of people experience both pain and psycho- logical difficulties for a long time after a whiplash injury. These findings should be taken into consideration in the management of subjects with chronic whiplash symptoms and may support a multi-professional rehabilitation model that integrates physical, psychological, and psychosocial factors.

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