Psychophysiology of posttraumatic stress disorder related to motor vehicle accidents: replication and extension

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Aug;64(4):742-51. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.64.4.742.


Psychophysiological assessment data, including heart rate (HR), blood pressure, and frontal electromyogram (EMG) responses to mental arithmetic, idiosyncratic audiotape descriptions of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), and a standard videotape of MVAs, were collected on 105 injured victims of recent MVAs and 54 non-MVA controls. Their data replicated data from an earlier report (Blanchard et al., 1994) and support the utility of HR response to the audiotaped description of the MVA as useful in distinguishing MVA victims with PTSD from those with subsyndromal PTSD and non-PTSD. At a 1-year follow-up, the psychophysiological assessment was repeated on 125 MVA victims; results showed a general diminution of psychophysiological responding. Initial psychophysiological assessment results predicted 1-year follow-up clinical status (continued PTSD or full or partial remission) for 37 or 48 individuals who initially met criteria for PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*