Purpose: The aim of our study was to evaluate if there was any relation between the change experienced in the condition of health or the length of the reported sick leaves after one year of whiplash injury and different sociodemographic and psychosocial factors.
Method: Our study design is a prospective 1-year-follow-up study. The material was collected in the year 1998 from neck injuries that had been caused by traffic accidents. The insurance companies sent a notice of the accident with medical certificate to the research team. After this we sent questionnaires to the injured and after one year of the accident a new inquiry was done. One hundred and eighty-two persons returned the 1-year-follow-up questionnaire which formed the material of this study.
Results: The persons who had the lowest basic education and people over 60 years of age had more health problems after one year of the accident. The other sociodemographic and psychosocial factors had only limited prognostic value when we evaluated the experienced change of health one year after the whiplash injury. Only 71 persons reported that they had been on sick leave because of the whiplash injury and of them only 21 reported sick leave over 1 month.
Conclusions: Several sociodemographic and psychosocial factors can have relation to the deterioration of health experienced after whiplash injury but in this prospective study they proved to have only limited prognostic value in the long term symptoms with the exception of the education.