Long-term functioning following whiplash injury : the role of social support and personality traits
Faculty of Applied Economics
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Clinical rheumatology. - Brussels
, p. 927-935
University of Antwerp
Transition from acute whiplash injury to either recovery or chronicity and the development of chronic whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) remains a challenging issue for researchers and clinicians. The roles of social support and personality traits in long-term functioning following whiplash have not been studied concomitantly. The present study aimed to examine whether social support and personality traits are related to long-term functioning following whiplash. One hundred forty-three subjects, who had experienced a whiplash injury in a traffic accident 1026 months before the study took place, participated. The initial diagnoses were a sprain of the neck (ICD-9 code 847.0); only the outcome of grades IIII acute WAD was studied. Long-term functioning was considered within the biopsychosocial model: it was expressed in terms of disability, functional status, quality of life and psychological well-being. Participants filled out a set of questionnaires to measure the long-term functioning parameters (i.e. the Neck Disability Index, Medical Outcome Study Short-Form General Health Survey, Anamnestic Comparative Self-Assessment measure of overall well-being and the Symptom Checklist-90) and potential determinants of long-term functioning (the Dutch Personality Questionnaire and the Social Support List). The results suggest that social support (especially the discrepancies dimension of social support) and personality traits (i.e. inadequacy, self-satisfaction and resentment) are related to long-term functioning following whiplash injury (Spearman rho varied between 0.32 and 0.57; p < 0.01). Within the discrepancy dimension, everyday emotional support, emotional support during problems, appreciative support and informative support were identified as important correlates of long-term functioning. Future prospective studies are required to confirm the role of social support and personality traits in relation to long-term functioning following whiplash. For such studies, a broad view of long-term functioning within the biopsychological model should be applied.