The University of Sussex

Injury severity and coping as predictors of psychological health in accident patients

Angus S. McDonald, Graham C.L. Davey, Geoffrey D.R. Bryant

The relative contribution of injury severity, long-term impairment and coping strategies to post-traumatic symptomatology and psychological health was assessed in a sample of accident patients. The physical severity of the injury failed to have direct effects on any of the outcome variables, and had only a minor indirect effect through its association with long-term effects of the injury. Emotion-focused coping was seen to consistently predict all outcome measures, and the degree of intrusive thoughts predicted levels of anxiety and depression. It is suggested that the use of emotion-focused coping inhibits the processing of traumatic events, and that intrusive thoughts influence psychological distress in addition to the direct effects of emotion-focused coping.

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