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The role of psychological symptoms and social group memberships in the development of post-traumatic stress after traumatic injury

Authors


Janelle M. Jones, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada (e-mail: janellej@sfu.ca).

Abstract

Objectives. The costs associated with traumatic injury are often exacerbated by the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms. However, it is unclear what decreases the development of post-traumatic symptoms over time. The aim of the present research was to examine the role of psychological symptoms and social group memberships in reducing the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms after orthopaedic injuries (OIs) and acquired brain injuries (ABIs).

Design and Methods. A longitudinal prospective study assessed self-reported general health symptoms, social group memberships, and post-traumatic stress symptoms among participants with mild or moderate ABI (n= 62) or upper limb OI (n= 31) at 2 weeks (T1) and 3 months (T2) after injury.

Results. Hierarchical regressions revealed that having fewer T1 general health symptoms predicted lower levels of T2 post-traumatic stress symptoms after OI but forming more new group memberships at T1 predicted lower levels of T2 post-traumatic stress symptoms after ABI.

Conclusion. A focus on acquiring group memberships may be particularly important in reducing the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms after injuries, such as ABI, which result in long-term life changes.

Statement of Contribution

What is already known on this subject?

  • • Post-traumatic stress symptoms are a common outcome after accidental traumatic injury.
  • • Persistent post-traumatic stress symptoms can be a risk factor for the development of PTSD.

What does this study add?

  • • New insight into the contributions of general health symptoms and social group memberships in the development of post-traumatic stress symptoms after accidental injury.
  • • The development of post-traumatic stress symptoms over time is associated with higher levels of general health symptoms among individuals with orthopaedic injuries; They are associated with lower levels of social group memberships among individuals with acquired brain injuries.
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