Objective: To delineate which injury-related, demographic, and psychosocial variables were predictive of severe disability (limitations in the performance of socially defined roles and tasks) at 3 months after discharge from acute hospitalization for non-central nervous system traumatic injury.
Patients and methods: The study design was prospective, longitudinal, and correlational. The sample consisted of 109 injured patients at three urban trauma centers. Data were obtained from patient interview using the Sickness Impact Profile, the Impact of Event Scale, and the Social Support Questionnaire; injury-related data were obtained from the medical record and computerized trauma registries.
Results: The sample had a mean age of 37.4 +/- 16.8 years, a mean number of injuries per person of 4.4 +/- 2.8, and a mean Injury Severity Score of 15.5 +/- 9.9. Motor vehicle crashes (34.9%) and violent injuries (33%) were the predominant causes of injuries. Patients experienced severe levels of disability (Sickness Impact Profile, mean = 26.1) and moderate levels of psychological distress (Impact of Event Scale, mean = 30.6; intrusion mean = 14.6 and avoidance mean = 16.0). Three variables were predictive of severe disability at 3 months: high levels of intrusive thoughts (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-7.7); injury with a maximal Abbreviated Injury Scale score in an extremity (odds ratio, 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-6.9); and having not graduated from high school (odds ratio, 3.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-10).
Conclusion: Extremity injuries, lack of high school graduation, and high level of posttraumatic psychological distress with intrusive thoughts are risk factors for severe disability at 3 months after discharge from the hospital.