The psychological impact of motor vehicle accidents : a New Zealand study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University
The present research attempted to identify those factors which predispose victims of severe motor vehicle accidents to develop PTSD, and explored the relationship between mental health and health care utilisation. A multistage probability sample of 167 New Zealand victims of motor vehicle accidents were included for analysis, the data being obtained as part of a larger nation-wide study looking at trauma and health care utilisation. Past research has identified factors which predispose the development of PTSD, such as prior psychological disorders, prior trauma, intensity, and extent of injury. The main statistical technique employed was multiple regression analysis, with the dependant variables being mental health and health care utilisation of the victims. Findings indicated that victims of MVAs are more likely to experience physical and mental health difficulties. The results showed a relationship between experience of trauma and the existence of PTSD, with victims of motor vehicle accidents suffering from more ill-health and PTSD-related symptoms than non-victims. Adverse life events, disclosure of feelings, extent of injury, and especially physical symptoms were all significant predictors of PTSD symptoms, however experience of previous trauma and intensity of the accident were not. A relationship between PTSD symptoms and health care utilisation also exists, with accident victims having more days confined to bed.