Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 48 Number 8, 2011
   Pages 913 — 926

Abstract —  Prevalence and characteristics of driving difficulties in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom combat returnees

Henry L. Lew, MD, PhD;1-2* Malissa Kraft, PsyD;3 Terri K. Pogoda, PhD;3-5 Melissa M. Amick, PhD;3,6 Patricia Woods, RN, MSN;3 David X. Cifu, MD7

1Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), Richmond, VA; 2University of Manoa, Honolulu, HI; 3Polytrauma and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA; 4Center for Organization, Leadership, and Management Research, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA; 5Department of Health Policy and Management, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA; 6DVBIC, Boston, MA; 7Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center, Richmond, VA

Abstract — We studied the prevalence and characteristics of self-reported driving difficulties and examined their association with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans who were seen at a Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient polytrauma clinic. In this study, we used a brief driving questionnaire and chart reviews to assess the prevalence and characteristics of driving difficulties in the following four groups of patients: TBI only, PTSD only, TBI + PTSD, and Neither (neither TBI nor PTSD). Compared with before deployment, 93% of OIF/OEF veterans seen in the polytrauma clinic reported more difficulties with driving in at least one domain, with the most common areas of difficulty being (1) problems with anger or impatience (82%), (2) general driving difficulties (65%), and (3) experiences with near misses (57%). Patients with PTSD (with or without TBI) reported the most significant driving impairments, whereas respondents with a history of only TBI endorsed driving difficulties similar to veterans without either diagnosis. Qualitative analysis of veterans' comments also revealed similar patterns. Self-reported driving problems were common among OIF/OEF returnees. Respondents who had a diagnosis of PTSD (with or without TBI) reported the most severe driving difficulties since returning from deployment. The association between PTSD and driving problems warrants further investigation.

Key words: automobiles, combat, concussion, deployment, driving, OIF/OEF, posttraumatic stress disorder, road rage, traumatic brain injury, veterans.


View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 48, No. 8
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Lew HL, Kraft M, Pogoda TK, Amick MM, Woods P, Cifu DX. Prevalence and characteristics of driving difficulties in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom combat returnees. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2011; 48(8):913-26.
DOI:10.1682/JRRD.2010.08.0140
Crossref

Last Reviewed or Updated  Friday, October 14, 2011 9:46 AM

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