Posttraumatic stress disorder and its impact on the economic and health costs of motor vehicle accidents in South australia

A. O. Chan, T. M. Air, A. C. McFarlane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: 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
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidents, Traffic/economics/*statistics & numerical data Adult *Cost of Illness Delivery of Health Care/economics Female Follow-Up Studies Forensic Medicine *Health Care Costs Health Status Humans Insurance, Liability/economics Life Change Events Male Mental Disorders/economics/epidemiology Prevalence Prospective Studies South Australia/epidemiology Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/*economics/*epidemiology Surveys and Questionnaires Survivors/psychology/statistics & numerical data

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