• work accidents;
  • emotional distress;
  • integrated assessment;
  • maladjustment;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder


Work accidents can be traumatic events that might give rise to a variety of dysfunctional stress responses. An integrated assessment of stress responses after work-related trauma is considered as a valuable approach in clinical practice. The purpose of the present study was to assess affective adjustment after work-related accidents using a multidimensional assessment. Fourteen males who had experienced work-related accidents and 13 male controls were assessed using self-report instruments and the recording of skin conductance response and the startle reflex during the viewing of standardized trauma-related and trauma-unrelated pictures. Participants who underwent a work accident reported more severe maladjustment symptoms than controls, as indicated by higher Post-traumatic stress disorder Symptom Scale (PSS) scores. Moreover, participants with higher PSS scores showed more severe depressive symptomatology and general psychopathology, and lower psychophysiological reactivity than participants with lower PSS scores. Long-lasting maladjustment problems after work-related accidents influence various affective domains even many years after the traumatic event. In those individuals who showed higher post-stress symptoms, an integrated assessment highlights a lack of concordance between self-reported symptoms and physiological activation. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.