Impaired psychological state, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms, occurs in up to 40% of patients hospitalized for traumatic injury. These symptoms, in the acute period, may delay engagement in activity, such as ambulation, following injury. The purpose of this study was to determine whether baseline anxiety and depressive symptoms predicted delayed (>48 hr from admission) ambulation in patients hospitalized for major traumatic injury.
Adults (n = 19) admitted for major trauma (Injury Severity Score [ISS] = 15) provided a baseline measure of anxiety and depressive symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]). Logistic regression was used to determine the predictive power of baseline HADS Anxiety and HADS Depression subscale scores for delayed ambulation while controlling for ISS.
At baseline, anxiety was present in 32% of patients; 21% reported depressive symptoms. Baseline HADS Anxiety score did not predict the ambulation group. However, for each 1 point increase in baseline HADS Depression score, the likelihood of patients ambulating after 48 hr from admission increased by 67% (odds ratio = 1.67; 95% CI [1.02, 2.72]; p = .041).
Worsening depressive symptoms were associated with delayed ambulation in the acute period following injury. Future, larger scale investigations are needed to further elucidate the relationship between psychological symptoms and the acute recovery period from trauma to better inform clinicians and guide development of interventions to improve patient outcomes.