Online Program

Posttraumatic stress disorder and risk of motor vehicle crash hospitalization among recent veterans enrolled in VA

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Aisling G. Fernandez, BS, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Portland VA Medical Center/Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
William E. Lambert, PhD, Center for Healthy Communities, Dept of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Maya E. O'neil, Ph.D., M.S., Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology & Department of Psychiatry, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
Dawn Peters, PhD, Department of Public Health & Preventative Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Kathleen F. Carlson, MS, PhD, School of Public Health, VA Portland Health Care System/Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
Background: Combat Veterans have increased risk of motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries compared to non-combat Veterans. We examined whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was associated with MVC-related hospitalizations among Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans who use Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare. Methods: We conducted a historical cohort study using VA medical records for 119,409 Veterans who enrolled in VA healthcare within a year of deployment and who used VA healthcare services consistently for five years. We used univariate and multivariate logistic regression to estimate the five-year relative risk (RR) of MVC-related hospitalization among Veterans who were versus were not diagnosed with PTSD within the first year post-deployment. Multivariable models adjusted for age, gender, race, education, marital status, military branch, component, and rank, number of deployments, history of traumatic brain injury, and distance to nearest VA. Results: There were 378 Veterans hospitalized for MVC-related injuries within five years of deployment; most were male (87%) and 18-24 years old (33%). Compared to Veterans without PTSD diagnoses in their first year post-deployment, those diagnosed with PTSD were 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for MVC-related injuries (95% CI: 1.2-1.8). However, after adjustment for potential confounders, Veterans diagnosed with PTSD had no greater risk than those without (RR=1.0; 95% CI: 0.8-1.3). Conclusions: We found that PTSD was associated with increased risk of MVC-related hospitalizations; however, this association appeared to be driven by potentially confounding variables. More research is needed to better understand the factors placing Veterans at increased risk of MVC after combat deployments.

Learning Areas:


Learning Objectives:
Discuss the incidence of PTSD and MVC hospitalizations among Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans who were frequent users of Veterans Affairs healthcare after deployment and the adjusted relative risk for the association between the two diagnoses.

Keyword(s): Injury, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author because I have been responsible for data management, analysis, and presentation of findings for this study. I have completed all required coursework for my MPH degree with a focus on epidemiology and biostatistics. Among my scientific interests is development of understanding of the risk factors for post-deployment injury among recent Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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