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68 The Impact of Pain Catastrophizing on Neuropsychological Performance in Youth with Persistent Post Concussive Symptoms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Emily E Carter*
Affiliation:
The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USA.
Jessica Bove
Affiliation:
The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Aliyah Snyder
Affiliation:
The University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
Meeryo Choe
Affiliation:
The University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Chris Giza
Affiliation:
The University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Talin Babikian
Affiliation:
The University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Robert Asarnow
Affiliation:
The University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
*
Correspondence: Emily Ellen Carter, The Pennsylvania State University, eec5302@psu.edu
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Abstract

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Objective:

Patients with persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS) experience prolonged recovery (e.g., headache, fatigue, or dizziness) lasting >2 months post injury. These symptoms are thought to be maintained by several biopsychosocial factors including dysregulated stress responses, such as pain catastrophizing, that may drive behavioral avoidance and contribute to mood symptoms and cognitive difficulties. Conditions with similar symptomatology to PPCS (e.g., anxiety disorders, somatosensory disorders, chronic pain, etc.) also exhibit maladaptive thought patterns like pain catastrophizing as well as decrements in certain aspects of cognitive performance; however little is known about how pain catastrophizing might relate to neuropsychological performance in youth with PPCS. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between pain catastrophizing and neuropsychological performance in youth participants with PPCS.

Participants and Methods:

A prospective case-control study design was used to examine 29 participants between the ages of 13 to 23. Participants were divided into two groups: 1) patients with PPCS (2-16 months post-injury; n = 15) and 2) age-matched, non-injured controls (n = 14). Participants completed the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) to determine degree of catastrophic thinking related to pain experience and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Neuropsychological performance was assessed using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) and a modified version of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) where performance was evaluated by total correct and error type (i.e., commission and omission) across 5 trials. ANCOVA was used to compare group differences in pain catastrophizing and neuropsychological tests scores while controlling for age and linear regressions examined the relationship between PCS total score and each neuropsychological test score while controlling for level of depression.

Results:

Overall, the PPCS group reported significantly higher levels of pain catastrophizing on the PCS compared to the control group (p < 0.01). For neuropsychological performance, the PPCS group scored significantly lower than the control group on List Learning (p < 0.01), Semantic Fluency (p < 0.05), and List Recall (p < 0.01) on the RBANS and made significantly higher omission errors (but not commission) on the PASAT(p <.01). Higher pain catastrophizing was also associated with poorer neuropsychological performance on the exact same tasks the PPCS group performed worse than controls. There was no significant interaction by group in the impact of PCS scores on neurocognitive performance.

Conclusions:

Compared to controls, youth PPCS patients reported higher levels of pain catastrophizing. Additionally, pain catastrophizing was associated with poorer neuropsychological performance. These findings suggest that increased pain catastrophizing after head injury could contribute to poorer cognitive performance in youth. As such, interventions that target maladaptive cognitive coping styles like pain catastrophizing may be especially helpful for patients with PPCS.

Type
Poster Session 02: Acute & Acquired Brain Injury
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023