Objective: There is growing recognition that individuals who experience traumatic injuries perceive themselves as victims of injustice and that elevated levels of perceived injustice are associated with problematic physical and psychological outcomes. To date, research regarding injustice perception and injury outcomes has been restricted to a small number of musculoskeletal pain conditions. No research to date has examined the potential impact of perceived injustice among individuals admitted for trauma care.
Method: As part of this cross-sectional study, individuals (n = 155) admitted to a Level-1 trauma center completed measures of perceived injustice, pain, depression, posttraumatic stress, and health related (physical and mental/emotional) quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes 12 months after trauma admission.
Results: Bivariate analyses revealed significant associations between perceived injustice and demographic variables (education, income, race, and age) as well as injury-related variables (type of injury and length of hospital stay). Perceived injustice was correlated with greater pain intensity, depression, and PTSD symptoms, as well as poorer physical and mental HRQoL. Controlling for relevant demographic and injury-related variables, perceived injustice accounted for unique variance in pain intensity, depression severity, the presence and intensity of PTSD symptoms, mental HRQoL, and was marginally significant for physical HRQoL.
Conclusions: This is the first study to examine perceived injustice in a trauma sample. Results support the presence of injustice perception in this group and its associations with pain and quality of life outcomes. Additional research is suggested to explore the impact of perceived injustice on recovery outcomes among individuals who have sustained traumatic injury.
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