Posttraumatic stress among hospitalized and nonhospitalized survivors of serious car crashes: a population-based study.
Ameratunga S., Tin Tin S., Coverdale J., Connor J., Norton R.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the prevalence of posttraumatic stress among survivors of serious injury-producing car crashes. METHODS: This population-based prospective cohort study, conducted in New Zealand, recruited hospitalized car occupants (passengers and drivers) as well as nonhospitalized drivers after a crash in which at least one occupant was hospitalized. Fifty-nine hospitalized passengers (62%) and 209 drivers (72%) completed five- and 18-month interviews. The Impact of Event Scale assessed symptoms of posttraumatic stress. RESULTS: At five months 28% of hospitalized passengers, 24% of hospitalized drivers, and 24% of nonhospitalized drivers reported symptoms consistent with posttraumatic stress disorder. At 18 months, 23% of hospitalized passengers, 11% of hospitalized drivers, and 7% of nonhospitalized drivers reported significant levels of stress. CONCLUSIONS: Strategies to prevent disabling sequelae of crashes must address the needs of hospitalized and nonhospitalized survivors.