Does blame impede health recovery after transport accidents?

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Blame towards the wrongdoer can be a source of distress for people who are injured in a transport accident. The association between blame and psychological stress is well investigated. In contrast, not much is known about blame and health-care utilization. It is important to investigate whether blame is associated with health-care consumption because it may contribute to our knowledge about what factors have an effect on recovery after transport accidents. The current study involved a total of 2940 participants, who were selected from a compensation database in Victoria, Australia. Health-care utilization, in general, and utilization of psychologist and physiotherapist visits, in particular, were defined as the outcome. In contrast to a previous study, it was found that blaming the other was associated with greater health-care utilization, in general, and psychologists and physiotherapist visits, specifically. Another relevant finding was that, although the study involved a sample that was created to show an equal ratio of blame/no-blame, 61 % blamed the other driver; therefore, blame may be a motive to lodge a claim. Finally, we discuss the role that psychologists and claim managers could play in reducing feelings of blame in order to reduce health-care utilization and possibly improve recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Injury and Law
Early online date17 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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