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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Personality Disorders Do NOT Delay Recovery in Traffic Accidents

Personality Disorders Do NOT Delay Recovery in Traffic Accidents

Injury as a result of a traffic accident can cause a condition that may result in permanent and significant disability. When patients are evaluated and permanency is being established, there is one factor that is hotly debated more than any other. Personality disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, and antisocial behavior have been thought to play a role in the recovery of injured patients.

A recent study by Ottosson, Pettersson, Bergman, & Ponzer (2010) states, "Personality disorders (PDs) have been suggested to be one of the determinants that might influence the recovery after injuries but has rarely been measured...This study describes the occurrence of PDs [personality disorders] among patients with minor traffic-related musculoskeletal injuries and relates these disorders to nonrecovery 12 months after the injury” (p. 198). They report in the introduction, “There are few studies focusing on the role of PD in the recovery process after a traffic collision…” (Ottosson et al., 2010, p. 198).

The study stated in relation to injury type, “The most common injury among all patients was a neck injury of whiplash type 67%...” (Ottosson et al., 2010, p. 200). In regard to personality disorder they stated, “Fifty-one percent of all patients (102 of 200) had at least one PD [personality disorder], and 20% had at least two" (Ottosson et al., 2010, p. 200). This study was a two year process that concluded, “...PD was not directly associated to recovery or nonrecovery after 12 months as reported by the patient” (Ottosson et al., 2010, p. 203).

Taking into account the true nature of an injured patient’s condition and understanding how to sort out relevant clinical factors from the non-relevant is an important aspect to the diagnosis and management of the traumatically injured. Clinicians that understand this newest research study on the effect of personality disorders on injured patients is critical to effectively establishing an accurate diagnosis and prognosis.


Ottosson, C., Pettersson, H., Bergman, B., & Ponzer, S. (2010). Personality disorders are not associated with nonrecovery in patients with traffic-related minor musculoskeletal injuries. The Journal of TRAUMA - Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 68(1), 198-203.


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