Life after Adolescent and Adult Moderate and Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Self-Reported Executive, Emotional, and Behavioural Function 2-5 Years after Injury

Torun Gangaune Finnanger, Alexander Olsen, Toril Skandsen, Stian Lydersen, Anne Vik, Kari Anne I Evensen, Cathy Catroppa, Asta K Håberg, Stein Andersson, Marit S Indredavik
Behavioural Neurology 2015, 2015: 329241
Survivors of moderate-severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are at risk for long-term cognitive, emotional, and behavioural problems. This prospective cohort study investigated self-reported executive, emotional, and behavioural problems in the late chronic phase of moderate and severe TBI, if demographic characteristics (i.e., age, years of education), injury characteristics (Glasgow Coma Scale score, MRI findings such as traumatic axonal injury (TAI), or duration of posttraumatic amnesia), symptoms of depression, or neuropsychological variables in the first year after injury predicted long-term self-reported function. Self-reported executive, emotional, and behavioural functioning were assessed among individuals with moderate and severe TBI (N = 67, age range 15-65 years at time of injury) 2-5 years after TBI, compared to a healthy matched control group (N = 72). Results revealed significantly more attentional, emotional regulation, and psychological difficulties in the TBI group than controls. Demographic and early clinical variables were associated with poorer cognitive and emotional outcome. Fewer years of education and depressive symptoms predicted greater executive dysfunction. Younger age at injury predicted more aggressive and rule-breaking behaviour. TAI and depressive symptoms predicted Internalizing problems and greater executive dysfunction. In conclusion, age, education, TAI, and depression appear to elevate risk for poor long-term outcome, emphasising the need for long-term follow-up of patients presenting with risk factors.

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