Psychological Medicine

Brief Communications

Acute stress response: a comparison of head injured and non-head injured patients

Richard A. Bryanta1 c1 and Allison G. Harveya1

a1 School of Psychology, University of New South Wales and Westmead Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia


Acute stress responses were investigated in head injured (N = 38) and non-head injured (N = 38) motor vehicle accident victims immediately following their trauma. Results indicated that amnesia of the traumatic event was associated with less acute post-traumatic stress, intrusive symptoms, perceived injury, and fear of future risk. A proportion of head injured patients reported intrusive and avoidance symptoms despite being amnesic of their trauma. Findings are discussed in terms of the differential post-traumatic adjustment of head injured and non-head injured traumatized patients.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Richard A. Bryant, School Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.