Adversity after the Crash: The Physical, Psychological and Social Burden of Motor Vehicle Crashes

Ashley Craig, Ph.D. and Rebecca Guest, Ph.D. (Editors)
John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Northern Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Series: Trauma and Recovery
BISAC: PSY007000



Volume 10

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Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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The World Health Organization recognizes that motor vehicle crashes and their impacts have become a serious public health crisis, with injury rates expected to escalate globally over the next 30 years. This is not surprising as adversity associated with the traumatic experience of a motor vehicle crash in which one could have died can be overwhelming. The risk of developing a major psychological disorder like depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder is high, and distress will become substantially intensified if one also sustains physical injury, which can range from a mild injury such as soft tissue damage or concussion, to a severe injury such as spinal cord injury or severe traumatic brain injury. However, the degree of injury severity does not predict the degree of distress and adversity experienced very well.

Evidence also suggests that entering a compensation process as a result of injuries can add to the distress experienced. Adversity can include personal suffering (e.g., pain, disability, trauma), financial hardship (e.g., loss of income/employment), social isolation, relationship stress, and a possible extended involvement in an adversarial claims/medical process. Adversity after the Crash: The Physical, Psychological and Social Burden of Motor Vehicle Crashes is the first scholarly book for some time to address a broad range of issues arising from a motor vehicle crash, and the authors are all internationally recognised experts in their respective fields. The book contains four sections, in which topics like types of physical injuries most commonly suffered, epidemiology, economic outcomes, return to work, compensation factors, whiplash, mental health outcomes, pain management, as well as innovative interventions designed to decrease the burden associated with motor vehicle crashes are discussed. This book is a must-read for people involved in researching motor vehicle crash outcomes and recovery, as well as for those providing clinical services to people who have been involved in a motor vehicle crash. Survivors of a motor vehicle crash would also benefit from a clearer understanding of the dynamics involved in recovering from such a traumatic experience.

Foreword from the NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority

(Rebecca Guest and Ashley Craig)

Section 1. Medical, Epidemiological and Economic Impacts

Chapter 1. Introduction to Physical Injuries, Recovery and Adversity Following Motor Vehicle Crashes
(James W. Middleton and Ian D. Cameron)

Chapter 2. Epidemiology of Adversity after a Motor Vehicle Crash
(Bamini Gopinath)

Chapter 3. Economic Costs and Financial Adversity
(Luke B. Connelly)

Chapter 4. Return to Work after a Motor Vehicle Crash
(Shannon Gray, Alex Collie and James W. Middleton)

Section 2. Compensation Impacts

Chapter 5. Optimising the Health of People in Road Injury Compensation Processes: What Is the Role of Regulators and Insurers?
(Jason Thompson, Nieke Elbers and Ian D. Cameron)

Chapter 6. Consumer Perspective of Motor Vehicle Crash Compensation
(Ian D. Cameron)

Chapter 7. The Impact of Psychological Distress on Compensation Outcomes
(Rebecca Guest, Yvonne Tran and Ashley Craig)

Section 3. Psychosocial Adversity

Chapter 8. Psychological Distress Associated with Motor Vehicle Crashes: Evidence from Three Meta-Analyses
(Ashley Craig, Rebecca Guest, Yvonne Tran, Bamini Gopinath and Justin Kenardy)

Chapter 9. Whiplash Associated Disorders: Biological, Physical, Psychological and Pain Sensitivity of Motor Vehicle Crashes
(Trudy Rebbeck, Michele Sterling and James Elliott)

Chapter 10. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Motor Vehicle Crash Survivors: Predictors, Consequences and Intervention
(Michelle Heron-Delaney and Justin Kenardy)

Chapter 11. Mental Health Outcomes Associated with Severe Injuries Following Motor Vehicle Crashes
(Ashley Craig, Rebecca Guest, Yvonne Tran and James Middleton)

Section 4. Interventions

Chapter 12. The Evidence for Early Psychological Intervention Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
(Rebecca Guest)

Chapter 13 Efficacy of Brief Psychological Interventions Delivered Early after the Injury
(Rebecca Guest, Yvonne Tran and Ashley Craig)

Chapter 14. Pain Management of Injured Persons Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
(Ashley Craig, Rebecca Guest, Phillip Siddall and James W. Middleton)

Chapter 15. Biomarkers of the Risk of Psychosocial Adversity Following a Motor Vehicle Crash
(Ilaria Pozzato, Bamini Gopinath and Ashley Craig)

Summary and Conclusion
(Ashley Craig, Rebecca Guest and Ian D Cameron)


"This book sheds much-needed light on the growing morbidity associated with motor vehicle crashes (MVCs). The editors have assembled an internationally recognized, multidisciplinary team of experts who not only describe the problem, but use the biopsychosocial model to help us understand why people with relatively “minor” physical injuries can have very poor outcomes, while people with more severe injuries can have good outcomes. The section on the influence of compensation schemes and processes nicely explicates how these powerful forces may operate. The sections on psychological factors demonstrate how integral these issues are to achieving overall recovery and point toward some promising early treatment strategies. Policy makers, health care providers of all stripes, and researchers interested in mitigating the enormous economic, social, psychological, and physical impacts of MVCs should learn from these authors to create better systems of care for MVC survivors." - Charles H. Bombardier, PhD, ABPP, Professor and Head Division of Clinical and Neuropsychology, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, USA

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