Elbers, Collie and Akkermans, ‘Does Blame Impede Health Recovery after Transport Accidents?’

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 healthcare utilization and possibly improve recovery.

Elbers, Nieke A, Collie, Alex and Akkermans, Arno J, Does Blame Impede Health Recovery after Transport Accidents? (February 17, 2015). Psychological Injury and Law (2015) 8:82-87.

First posted 2015-03-11 13:17:10

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