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Injury. 2011 Mar;42(3):288-300. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2010.11.045. Epub 2011 Jan 8.

Measuring depression and PTSD after trauma: common scales and checklists.

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Department of Surgery and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Starzl E. Transplantation Institute, Liver Cancer Center, 3459 Fifth Avenue, Montefiore 7S, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States.


Traumatic injury is an important public health problem secondary to high levels of morbidity and mortality. Injured survivors face several physical, emotional, and financial repercussions that can significantly impact their lives as well as their family. Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are the most common psychiatric sequelae associated with traumatic injury. Factors affecting the prevalence of these psychiatric symptoms include: concomitant TBI, the timing of assessment of depression and PTSD, the type of injury, premorbid, sociodemographic, and cultural factors, and co-morbid medical conditions and medication side effects. The appropriate assessment of depression and PTSD is critical to an understanding of the potential consequences of these disorders as well as the development of appropriate behavioural and pharmacological treatments. The reliability and validity of screening instruments and structured clinical interviews used to assess depression and PTSD must be considered. Common self-report instruments and structured clinical interviews used to assess depression and PTSD and their reliability and validity are described. Future changes in diagnostic criteria for depression and PTSD and recent initiatives by the National Institute of Health regarding patient-reported outcomes may result in new methods of assessing these psychiatric sequelae of traumatic injury.

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