Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Participants were part of a larger study and included a sample of injured individuals seeking medical care at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital. A total of 202 subjects were assessed within 2 to 14 days after injury using a battery of measures and interview questions. They were followed longitudinally to assess psychological adjustment at six months after injury. The study was conducted over a four-year period with data collection ending in June 2004. Data revealed that the following demographic and clinical factors were associated with PTSD symptomatology six months after injury: younger age, fewer years of formal education, enduring an unintentional injury, being unmarried, and having a history of prior mental health problems. Identical demographic and clinical characteristics (aside from the exclusion of marital status) were associated with depressive symptomatology at six months post-injury. Data also revealed that perceived functional impairment and anger predicted PTSD symptomatology and that perceived functional impairment predicted depressive symptomatology. Additionally, all cognitive variables accounted for a significant percentage of the variance of PTSD and depressive symptoms above and beyond the contribution of the demographic and clinical variables. These results suggest that cognitive factors, which are rarely assessed after injury, may be better predictors of psychopathology than often-studied demographic and clinical factors. Study results have far-reaching implications and include recommendations for more comprehensive assessment immediately after injury to identify individuals at high risk of developing PTSD, major depressive disorder, or both. Results suggest that cognitive variables may affect treatment outcome. Research is warranted to identify the effectiveness of treatment programs and to identify individual difference variables (such as cognitive variables) that may interact with these interventions.



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