Background: Physical injury and psychological disorder following a motor vehicle crash (MVC) is a public health concern. The objective of this research was to determine rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults with MVC-related injury engaged in compensation, and to determine the capacity (e.g. sensitivity and specificity) of two psychometric scales for estimating the presence of MDD and PTSD. Methods: Participants included 109 adults with MVC-related injury engaged in compensation during 2015 to 2017, in Sydney, Australia. The mean time from MVC to baseline assessment was 11 weeks. Comprehensive assessment was conducted at baseline, and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) were administered to determine probable MDD and PTSD. An online psychiatric interview, based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5), was used to diagnose actual MDD and PTSD, acknowledged as gold standard diagnostic criteria. One-way multivariate analyses of variance established criterion validity of the DASS-21 and IES-R, and sensitivity and specificity analyses were conducted to determine the most sensitive cut-off points for detecting probable MDD and PTSD. Results: Substantial rates of MDD (53.2%) and PTSD (19.3%) were found. The DASS-21 and IES-R were shown to have excellent criterion validity for detecting MDD and PTSD in injured participants. A range of cut-off points were investigated and shown to have acceptable sensitivity and specificity for detecting MDD and PTSD in an injured population engaged in compensation. The preferred cut-off points based on this study are: to detect MDD, a DASS-21 total score of 30 and/or a DASS-21 depression score of 10; to detect PTSD, IES-R scores of 33-40 and/or a DASS-21 anxiety score of 7-8. Conclusions: Major psychological disorder is prevalent following a MVC. Results suggest the DASS-21 and IES-R are suitable for use in clinical/compensation settings to detect probable MDD and PTSD soon after a MVC in physically injured people engaged in compensation. These results provide positive direction in the public health arena for improving mental health outcomes.
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- Motor vehicle accident
- Physical injury
- Post-traumatic stress disorder