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The association between motor vehicle injuries and health-related quality of life: a longitudinal study of a population-based sample in the United States

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Abstract

Purpose

As many as 3 million US residents are injured in traffic-related incidents every year leaving many victims with disabling conditions. To date, limited numbers of studies have examined the effects of traffic-related injuries on self-reported health. This study aims to examine the association between health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and traffic-related injuries longitudinally in a nationally representative sample of US adult population.

Methods/approach

This is a longitudinal study of adult participants (age ≥18) from seven panels (2000–2007) of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The dependent variables included the physical and mental components of the SF-12, a measure of self-reported health. The outcome was assessed twice during the follow-up period: round 2 (~4–5 months into the study) and round 4 (~18 months into the study) for 62,298 individuals. Two methods estimate the association between traffic-related injuries and HRQOL: a within person change using paired tests and a between person change using multivariable regression adjusting for age, sex, income and educational level.

Results

Nine hundred and ninety-three participants reported traffic-related injuries during the follow-up period. Compared to their pre-crash HRQOL, these participants lost 2.7 of the physical component score while their mental component did not change. Adjusted results showed significant deficits in the physical component (−2.84, p value = <.001) but not the mental component (−0.07, p value = .83) of HRQOL after controlling for potential confounders.

Conclusion

Traffic injuries were significantly associated with the physical component of HRQOL. These findings highlight the individual and societal burden associated with motor vehicle crash-related disability in the United States.

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Correspondence to Suliman Alghnam.

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Alghnam, S., Palta, M., L. Remington, P. et al. The association between motor vehicle injuries and health-related quality of life: a longitudinal study of a population-based sample in the United States. Qual Life Res 23, 119–127 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-013-0444-3

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