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Ann Adv Automot Med. 2010;54:359-67.

Self-reported health indicators in the year following a motor vehicle crash: a comparison of younger versus older subjects.

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The National Study Center for Trauma and EMS, University of Maryland School of Medicine.


Motor vehicle crash injuries among the elderly are an important public health problem. We sought to determine if older individuals (65 years and older) had worse self-reported physical functioning and mental health status than younger adults (18-64 years) at 6 and 12 months post-injury, while controlling for pre-injury functional status, comorbidity, and injury severity. We used data from two sites of the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) study. After exclusion based on missing Short Form-36 (SF-36) values, the final sample consisted of 579 CIREN cases; there were 500 individuals age 18-64 and 79 individuals (13.6%) age 65 or older. The outcome measures included the physical functioning scale (PFS), vitality scale (VS), and mental health scale (MHS) of the SF-36. The proportion of younger and older adults that had comorbidity was 17.6% and 54.4%, respectively. Multivariate linear regression models indicated that comorbidity, baseline PFS, and severe injury (Injury Severity Score [ISS] 25+ vs. ISS ≤ 8) were significantly associated with PFS scores at 6 months, but only comorbidity and baseline PFS were associated with PFS at 12 months. Multivariate models indicated that only pre-injury VS (p < .001) was associated with the VS at 6 months, but that both comorbidity (p < .01) and pre-injury VS (p < .001) were associated with VS at 12 months. MHS at 6 months was significantly associated with only the baseline MHS score, but both comorbidity and pre-injury MHS were associated with MHS at 12 months. There was no significant difference in the change in any of the SF-36 domains during the study year. Advanced age was not associated with lower self-reported health in any of the three SF-36 domains compared to younger age when pre-injury ISS and comorbidity were included in the model.

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