Eurekalert recently reported on a new study, hailing from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. The study found that patients who are recovering from physical trauma are at greater risk for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Identifying trauma early is key to treatment

The authors of the study believe that an early intervention of PTSD or depression due to trauma is key in effective treatment and recovery for injured patients. Research found that ‘predictive screeners’ could be one tool used to identify patients who are at a higher risk of ‘post-injury’ depression or PTSD. This is key in ensuring early intervention for the right people, so that the appropriate follow-up services can be provided.

The first-of-its-kind study from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) assessed the effectiveness of two predictive screeners on a population that is frequently impacted by physical trauma and injury – Black men in the United States.

Researchers used the Penn Richmond Screener and the Posttraumatic Adjustment Scale (PAS) in the study and found that both screeners, although developed in different countries, could correctly predict the likelihood of future instances of depression and/or PTSD.

The fact that the two screeners were developed in different countries and using different methods could possibly indicate that cultural, national and population differences do not affect the risk markers for post-injury depression and/or PTSD.

Lead investigator on the study, Therese S. Richmond, PHD and associate Dean for Research & Innovation at Penn Nursing said:

"The results provide additional support for our ability to identify, during the course of acute trauma care, those patients at highest risk for poor mental health outcomes. This allows trauma programs to target those patients most likely to benefit from follow-up assessments for the emergence of these disorders and to target potentially limited resources appropriately."