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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Recovery from whiplash injury and sequelae : a critical incident analysis Catapia, Pamela M.


Psychological sequelae, chronic pain, as well as other somatic and social problems can develop in some whiplash injured individuals, with a greater impact on quality of life than is usually acknowledged. Quantitative literature reports a high incidence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), travel anxiety, depression, somatization, cognitive impairment, and low self-efficacy that can develop into a chronic impairment. In some instances, these sequelae can evolve into an intractable disability that often prevents individuals from returning to work or usual activities, prolongs their suffering, impairs family life and interpersonal relationships, increases the costs of insurance, increases the litigation rate, and ultimately increases overall losses and costs to society. The purpose of this study was to develop a set of categories that describe what facilitates and what hinders recovery from whiplash injury from the perspective of those experiencing it. Substantial numbers of quantitative studies and literature reviews have been published on whiplash and its sequelae, reflecting the clinician's perspective but omitting the perspective of those experiencing this mind-body problem. The critical incident technique was used to delineate specific factors, events, and behaviours that affect the recovery process. This methodology allows a richer understanding of how and why certain incidents facilitate or hinder recovery from whiplash injury and the types of changes anticipated to enable the most meaningful improvements in these individuals' lives. Implications for counselling of motor vehicle accident victims with whiplash injury and future research were discussed. It was concluded that the categories are useful in a number of ways for those experiencing the injury, their social network, service providers, and researchers.

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