Daily hassles and stress vulnerability in patients with a whiplash-associated disorder

Int J Rehabil Res. 2002 Sep;25(3):173-9. doi: 10.1097/00004356-200209000-00002.


The objectives of this study were to examine the self-reported, daily problems of patients with a whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) and a healthy control group, with the hypothesis that WAD patients would report more person-dependent hassles and perceive them as more serious than the healthy control group, due to the prior experience of a whiplash injury. In addition, it was expected that the person-independent seriousness rating would be elevated, reflecting the increased vulnerability of WAD patients to common stressors. Finally, a strong relationship was expected between frequency or seriousness of daily problems on the one hand and level of distress on the other. Forty-seven WAD patients seeking treatment and 47 matched healthy control participants completed the everyday problem checklist (EPCL). The level of distress was measured by the symptom checklist (SCL-90). As expected, most EPCL-scores in the WAD group were higher than the scores of the healthy participants. Regression analysis further revealed that 61% of the variance in general distress in the WAD group could be explained by EPCL scores and educational background. Chronic WAD patients report a high stress load, which is related specifically to personal functioning after the whiplash injury. In addition, WAD patients (especially those with a low educational level) appear to be more vulnerable and react with more distress than healthy people to all kinds of stressors. Stress responses probably play an important role in the maintenance or deterioration of whiplash-associated complaints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Selection Bias
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Whiplash Injuries / rehabilitation*