Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important patient-reported outcome that warrants greater attention in individuals who sustained a non-catastrophic injury in a road traffic crash. Additional robust data on HRQoL outcomes after a non-catastrophic injury are needed to effectively identify potential targets for studies of tertiary prevention of poor recovery after a crash. Objective: We assessed the association between non-catastrophic road traffic crash injuries and HRQoL and factors that independently affect long-term HRQoL. Methods: In this inception cohort study, injured participants (≥ 17 years old) were identified from various sources including hospital emergency departments by a medical examination by a registered healthcare professional in New South Wales (Australia) and followed up after 12 months. HRQoL was measured by the European Quality of Life–5 Dimensions (EQ-5D-3L) and Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form 12 items (SF-12). A range of socio-demographic, pre-injury health, psychological, and injury-related factors were considered potential predictors of HRQoL in regression analyses. Results: Among 2019 individuals identified, 1201 (59.5%) were followed up after 12 months. HRQoL significantly improved between baseline and 12-month follow-up: EQ-5D-3L summary score (0.41-unit difference); SF-12 physical component summary score (PCS; 13.6-unit difference) and mental component summary score (MCS; 3.5-unit difference). Over 12 months, HRQoL score was lower for people claiming compensation than others (P < 0.0001). Key predictors of better 12-month EQ-5D-3L summary score and visual analogue scale score for pain were age, not claiming compensation, reduced body mass index, less pain severity, less pain-related disability, and less general psychological distress. Significant predictors of SF-12 PCS score were injury to the neck (P = 0.02) or head or face (P = 0.01), being a driver or passenger at the time of the crash (P < 0.0001), hospital admission (P < 0.0001) and pain severity (P < 0.0001). Baseline variables associated with 12-month SF-12 MCS scores were head or face injury (P = 0.02), pre-injury health (P = 0.04), pre-injury psychological conditions (P = 0.04), trauma-related distress (P = 0.0002) and general psychological distress (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: A wide spectrum of biopsychosocial factors contribute to HRQoL after a road traffic crash injury. These epidemiological data are potentially important because they could identify potential targets for studies of tertiary prevention of persistently poor HRQoL after such an injury.
- health-related quality of life
- non-catastrophic injury
- road traffic crash
- cohort study