Psychological consequences of maxillofacial trauma: a preliminary study

Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2003 Oct;41(5):317-22. doi: 10.1016/s0266-4356(03)00131-1.


Aims: To identify the prevalence of post-traumatic psychological symptoms after maxillofacial trauma and prognostic factors related to poor outcome.

Methods: Thirty-nine patients were assessed within 10 days of injury and 24 again 4-6 weeks later using five standardised self-report measures on each occasion and a short structured interview at the time of initial contact.

Results: Specific post-traumatic psychological symptoms were present at initial assessment in 21 patients (54%), with 9 (41%) meeting diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder at review 4-6 weeks later. Other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety and depression, were identified by the General Health Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Characteristics associated with poorer outcome included: a previous history of psychological distress; fear of the unknown, and female sex.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the adverse psychological effect of maxillofacial trauma both immediately after the event and 4-6 weeks after injury. Proper assessment of injured patients must include psychological aspects and further research is needed to identify the most appropriate response.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Maxillofacial Injuries / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome