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Life satisfaction after traumatic brain injury.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate correlates of life satisfaction after traumatic brain injury (TBI).

DESIGN: Prospective, longitudinal study of patients with TBI studied 1 and 2 years after injury.

SETTING: A specialized inpatient TBI rehabilitation unit in a midwestern academic medical center.

SUBJECTS: Two hundred eighteen consecutive patients admitted for rehabilitation, at least 14 years of age, with a primary diagnosis of TBI, consented to participate, and interviewed 1 and/or 2 years after injury (112 interviewed both years, 58 at year 1 only, 48 at year 2 only).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Satisfaction With Life Scale.

RESULTS: Stepwise multiple regressions accounted for statistically significant, but small, proportions of variance. Not having a preinjury history of substance abuse and having gainful employment at the time of follow-up were associated with higher life satisfaction both 1 and 2 years after injury. Motor independence at rehabilitation discharge was also associated at 1 year. Current social integration and the absence of depressed mood were associated at 2 years. Life satisfaction was relatively stable between years. Change that did occur was associated with marital status and depressed mood 2 years after injury.

CONCLUSIONS: Life satisfaction after TBI seems to be related to attaining healthy and productive lifestyles. Future research should investigate other factors that affect life satisfaction to increase prediction and appreciate all influences on subjective well being after TBI.

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