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Type: Journal article
Title: Posttraumatic stress disorder and its impact on the economic and health costs of motor vehicle accidents in South Australia
Author: Chan, A.
Air, T.
McFarlane, A.
Citation: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2003; 64(2):175-181
Publisher: Physicians Postgraduate Press
Issue Date: 2003
ISSN: 0160-6689
Statement of
Angelina O. M. Chan, Tracy M. Air, and Alexander C. McFarlane
Abstract: Motor vehicle accident studies thus far have focused primarily on psychiatric consequences and outcomes and medicolegal and treatment aspects, particularly of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study aimed to determine the impact of motor vehicle accident-related psychiatric disorders on health and economic costs in quantitative terms. METHOD: Of the 3088 victims of motor vehicle accidents who made a claim through the State Insurance Commission, South Australia, between November 27, 1996, and March 23, 1999, 391 responded to the study and were assessed using the 28-item General Health Questionnaire, the PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version, and the Dissociative Experiences Scale. At the end of the study period, computerized cost records and accounting data on the health and economic costs incurred were obtained for each of the subjects. RESULTS: The total health and economic cost in Australian dollars for the 391 motor vehicle accident victims was A$6,369,519.52. At about 9 months after the accident, of the 391 subjects who replied to the questionnaires, 31% were identified as depressed and 62% as anxious, while 29% met criteria for PTSD. PTSD cases incurred significantly higher health care costs compared with non-PTSD cases (p <.001). Untreated PTSD cases incurred significantly higher economic losses compared with treated PTSD and non-PTSD cases (p <.05). CONCLUSION: The health and economic costs associated with motor vehicle accidents are enormous. Psychiatric morbidity among victims was high, and motor vehicle accident-related PTSD significantly contributed to increased overall health care and economic costs.
Keywords: Humans; Prevalence; Follow-Up Studies; Prospective Studies; Life Change Events; Mental Disorders; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Forensic Medicine; Accidents, Traffic; Health Status; Cost of Illness; Adult; Survivors; Health Care Costs; Insurance, Liability; Delivery of Health Care; South Australia; Female; Male; Surveys and Questionnaires
RMID: 0020030306
DOI: 10.4088/JCP.v64n0210
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Appears in Collections:Psychiatry publications

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