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.