Impacts of injury severity on long-term outcomes following motor vehicle crashes

Kevin K. C. Hung, Annette Kifley, Katherine Brown, Jagnoor Jagnoor, Ashley Craig, Belinda Gabbe, Sarah Derrett, Michael Dinh, Bamini Gopinath, Ian D. Cameron*, FISH Investigators

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Background: There is growing evidence that a range of pre-injury, injury related and post-injury factors influence social and health outcomes across the injury severity spectrum. This paper documents health related outcomes for people with mild, moderate and severe injury after motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries in New South Wales, Australia.

Methods: This inception cohort study followed 2019 people injured in MVCs, for 6 and 12 months post-injury. We categorised moderate injury as hospital length-of-stay (LOS) of 2-6 days and Injury Severity Score (ISS) of 4-11, while severe injury as LOS ≥7 days or ISS ≥ 12. We examined differences in paid work status, 12-Item Short Form Survey (SF12), EQ-5D and World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule II (WHODAS) outcomes longitudinally from baseline to 12 months between levels of injury severity using linear mixed models for repeated measures. We first considered minimally sufficient adjustment factors (age, sex, crash role, perceived danger in crash, pre-injury health, pre-injury EQ-5D, recruitment source), and then more extensive adjustments including post-injury factors. The presence of mediating pathways for SF-12 Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) via post-injury factors was evaluated.

Results: Based on hospital length of stay (LOS), 25 and 10% of participants sustained moderate and severe injuries, respectively, while 43 and 4% had these injuries based on ISS. Twelve months post-injury LOS ≥7 days versus ≤1 day was associated with an estimated 9 units lower mean SF12 PCS using a minimally sufficient adjustment model, and LOS ≥ 7 days was associated with a 3 units lower mean SF12 MCS score. Mediation analyses (LOS ≥ 7 days vs ≤1 day) found for SF12 MCS outcomes, effects of injury severity were small and mostly indirect (direct effect - 0.03, indirect effect - 0.22). Whereas for SF12 PCS outcomes the effect of having a more severe injury rather than mild were both direct and indirect (direct effect - 0.50, indirect effect - 0.38).

Conclusions: Individuals with severe injuries (those with LOS ≥ 7 days and ISS 12+) had poorer recovery 12 months after the injury. In addition, post-injury mediators have an important role in influencing long-term health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number602
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • health related quality of life
  • return to work
  • road injuries
  • recovery


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