Jones et. al (2012) points out that traumatic injury can be linked with later development of PTSD. It does not seem surprising that PTSD is common after a major physical trauma resulting in orthopedic injuries (OI) or acquired brain injury (ABI). Unknown variables included which factors might mitigate or limit the development of PTSD after traumatic injury.
Jones et.al. discussed the social identity model. The social identity approach looks at how one’s social group memberships contribute to health outcomes. Jones et. al. evaluated two injury groups (OI and ABI) at 2 weeks and again at three months after discharge. The participants were given The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) to assess somatic symptoms. The Exeter Identity Transition Scales (EXITS) were utilized to assess sense of belonging, connection and support. Finally the Trauma Screening Questionnaire (TSQ) was given to assess post traumatic symptomatology.
The researchers found that group memberships seemed to effect OI and ABI differently. Injuries that caused long term life changes seemed to have reduced trauma symptoms when new group membership after the injury was developed. An example of “new group membership” would be joining an ABI support group. The authors theorized that membership in a group that facilitated the changes involved allowed patients to better adjust to their new life circumstances.
Jones et. al suggested that for injuries with higher levels of long term disabilities, trauma symptoms may be reduced by health care personnel making appropriate referrals to community services and groups.
Jones et. al (2012). The role of psychological symptoms and social group memberships in the development of post-traumatic stress after traumatic injury. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17, 798-811
Rain Smith, MS
WKPIC Doctoral Intern