Subjective cognitive complaints and neuropsychological test performance following military-related traumatic brain injury

Louis M French, Rael T Lange, Tracey Brickell
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 2014, 51 (6): 933-50
This study examined the relation between neuropsychological test performance and self-reported cognitive complaints following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants were 109 servicemembers from the U.S. military who completed a neuropsychological evaluation within the first 2 yr following mild-severe TBI. Measures included the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-C), Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI), and 17 select measures from a larger neurocognitive test battery that corresponded to three self-reported cognitive complaints from the NSI (i.e., memory, attention/concentration, and processing speed/organization). Self-reported cognitive complaints were significantly correlated with psychological distress (PCL-C total: r = 0.50-0.58; half the PAI clinical scales: r = 0.40-0.58). In contrast, self-reported cognitive complaints were not significantly correlated with overall neurocognitive functioning (with the exception of five measures). There was a low rate of agreement between neurocognitive test scores and self-reported cognitive complaints. For the large minority of the sample (38.5%-45.9%), self-reported cognitive complaints were reported in the presence of neurocognitive test scores that fell within normal limits. In sum, self-reported cognitive complaints were not associated with neurocognitive test performance, but rather were associated with psychological distress. These results provide information to contextualize cognitive complaints following TBI.

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