To estimate the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among hand-injured patients and assess the impact of these disorders on general health status.
A total of 106 adult hand-injured patients (40 women, 66 men) with a mean age of 42 years (range, 18–79 years) participated. Patients with a chronic mental illness or cognitive impairment were excluded. Psychological status was assessed using the Revised Civilian Mississippi Scale for PTSD and the Beck Depression Inventory. General health status was evaluated with the Short Form-36 health survey (SF-36). We obtained demographics and injury characteristics from the patient medical records.
Prominent mechanisms of injury included a fall (n = 38), traffic-related injuries (n = 14), machine versus operator (n = 8), gunshot wounds (n = 6), and assault (n = 6). Using the screening questionnaires, 32 persons qualified for PTSD and 19 for depression. Sixteen patients met the criteria for both PTSD and depression. The association between PTSD and depression was significant (p < .01). Patients with PTSD had significantly lower scores than those who did not endorse items consistent with PTSD or depression on the SF-36 subscales of role–emotional (p < .01), body pain (p = .013), social function (p = .028), and mental health (p < .01). We found no significant differences between groups for the subscales of role–physical (p = .289), general health (p = .147), vitality (p = .496), and physical functioning (p = .476). Patients who had concurrent PTSD and depression had significantly lower scores than patients who had neither PTSD nor depression on all subscales (p < .05 for all) except role–physical (p = .135). We found significant negative correlations between Beck Depression Inventory scores and all of the SF-36 subscales (p < .05 for all).
In this study, nearly one third of hand-injured patients met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, depression, or both, according to the thresholds of the instruments used to measure these psychological aspects of illness. PTSD and depression had a negative effect on general health status after hand injury. It may be important to consider psychological status when caring for patients with hand injuries.
Type of study/level of evidence
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Accepted: November 11, 2008
Received: December 5, 2007
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