UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Prior histories of posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression and their onset and course in the three months after a motor vehicle collision in the AURORA study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Emergency Medicine; Emergency Medicine at UMCMS-Baystate

Publication Date


Document Type



Emergency Medicine | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Trauma


BACKGROUND: A better understanding of the extent to which prior occurrences of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive episode (MDE) predict psychopathological reactions to subsequent traumas might be useful in targeting posttraumatic preventive interventions.

METHODS: Data come from 1306 patients presenting to 29 U.S. emergency departments (EDs) after a motor vehicle collision (MVC) in the advancing understanding of recovery after trauma study. Patients completed self-reports in the ED and 2-weeks, 8-weeks, and 3-months post-MVC. Associations of pre-MVC probable PTSD and probable MDE histories with subsequent 3-months post-MVC probable PTSD and probable MDE were examined along with mediation through intervening peritraumatic, 2-, and 8-week disorders.

RESULTS: 27.6% of patients had 3-month post-MVC probable PTSD and/or MDE. Pre-MVC lifetime histories of these disorders were not only significant (relative risk = 2.6-7.4) but were dominant (63.1% population attributable risk proportion [PARP]) predictors of this 3-month outcome, with 46.6% prevalence of the outcome among patients with pre-MVC disorder histories versus 9.9% among those without such histories. The associations of pre-MVC lifetime disorders with the 3-month outcome were mediated largely by 2- and 8-week probable PTSD and MDE (PARP decreasing to 22.8% with controls for these intervening disorders). Decomposition showed that pre-MVC lifetime histories predicted both onset and persistence of these intervening disorders as well as the higher conditional prevalence of the 3-month outcome in the presence of these intervening disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: Assessments of pre-MVC PTSD and MDE histories and follow-ups at 2 and 8 weeks could help target early interventions for psychopathological reactions to MVCs.


major depression, motor vehicle collision, posttraumatic stress disorder, trauma

DOI of Published Version



Joormann J, Ziobrowski HN, King AJ, Gildea SM, Lee S, Sampson NA, House SL, Beaudoin FL, An X, Stevens JS, Zeng D, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Musey PI Jr, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, McGrath ME, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O'Neil BJ, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Koenen KC, McLean SA, Kessler RC. Prior histories of posttraumatic stress disorder and major depression and their onset and course in the three months after a motor vehicle collision in the AURORA study. Depress Anxiety. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.1002/da.23223. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34783142. Link to article on publisher's site


Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Depression and anxiety

PubMed ID