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J Anxiety Disord. 1998 Jan-Feb;12(1):57-69.

Posttraumatic stress disorder and work-related injury.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


The literature indicates a substantial overlap between chronic pain and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in individuals who sustain accidental injury. To date, however, there have been no studies of PTSD symptoms in individuals who experience work-related injury. Consequently, we assessed 139 consecutive injured workers using the Modified PTSD Symptom Scale (Falsetti, Resnick, & Kirkpatrick, 1993), as well as a number of general measures of psychopathology. Most participants reported chronic pain and all were receiving workers compensation. Results indicated that 34.7% and 18.2% of the sample reported symptoms consistent with PTSD and partial PTSD, respectively. When PTSD symptom frequency and severity were considered criterion variables in multiple regression analyses, depression was found to be significantly associated with the former and anxiety sensitivity, social fears, and somatic focus with the later. Finally, these measures of general psychopathology correctly classified 78.6% of individuals with PTSD and 81.3% of those with no PTSD. These results suggest that a considerable proportion of injured workers display symptoms consistent with PTSD and that these symptoms are related to general negative affect. Implications, including the suggestion of clinical intake screening of PTSD in this population, are discussed.

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