AN EXAMINATION OF PTSD SYMPTOMS AS A MEDIATOR OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRAUMA HISTORY CHARACTERISTICS AND PHYSICAL HEALTH FOLLOWING A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Article first published online: 5 DEC 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Depression and Anxiety
Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 475–482, May 2013
How to Cite
Irish, L. A., Gabert-Quillen, C. A., Ciesla, J. A., Pacella, M. L., Sledjeski, E. M. and Delahanty, D. L. (2013), AN EXAMINATION OF PTSD SYMPTOMS AS A MEDIATOR OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TRAUMA HISTORY CHARACTERISTICS AND PHYSICAL HEALTH FOLLOWING A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT. Depress. Anxiety, 30: 475–482. doi: 10.1002/da.22034
- Issue published online: 25 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 5 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 9 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 25 MAY 2012
- National Institute of Mental Health. Grant Number: R01 MH62042
- PTSD/posttraumatic stress disorder;
- quality of life;
- life events/stress;
It has been suggested that a history of trauma exposure is associated with increased vulnerability to the physical health consequences of subsequent trauma exposure, and that posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) may serve as a key pathway in this vulnerability. However, few studies have modeled these relationships using mediation, and most have failed to consider whether specific characteristics of the prior trauma exposure have a differential impact on physical and mental health outcomes.
The present study examined 180 victims of a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA) who reported prior exposure to traumatic events. PTSS were assessed by clinical interview 6 weeks post-MVA, and physical health was assessed 6 months post-MVA. Using structural equation modeling, the present study examined the extent to which event (age at first trauma, number, and types of trauma) and response (perceptions of life threat, physical injury, and distress) characteristics of prior trauma were related to physical health outcomes following a serious MVA, and whether these relationships were mediated by PTSS.
Results revealed that both event and response characteristics of prior trauma history were associated with poorer physical health, and that PTSS served as a mechanism through which response characteristics, but not event characteristics, led to poorer physical health.
These results highlight the enduring impact of trauma exposure on physical health outcomes, and underscore the importance of considering multiple mechanisms through which different aspects of prior trauma exposure may impact physical health.