Objective: This study explores the feasibility of recruiting acutely injured public-sector crime victims into a research protocol and identifies baseline characteristics associated with posttraumatic distress in the enrolled sample (N=541).
Method: Assertive research tracking methods were used to enroll participants, who completed baseline interviews. Descriptive statistics were used to define characteristics of the sample and prevalence of psychosocial problems and posttraumatic distress. Multiple regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of posttraumatic distress.
Results: A high percentage (78%) of eligible victims completed baseline interviews within 1 month of victimization. The sample was largely male, ethnic minority, unemployed and living below the poverty level. Trauma symptoms were highly prevalent, with three quarters having significant posttraumatic distress. Female gender, preexisting psychiatric disorder, trauma history, case management needs and employment status were predictive of greater symptomatology. Stabbing victims had lower distress.
Conclusions: Comprehensive mental health and case management services that proactively engage disadvantaged victims are needed to meet the complex problems of this population.