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Symptom complaints following combat-related traumatic brain injury: Relationship to traumatic brain injury severity and posttraumatic stress disorder

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 September 2009

HEATHER G. BELANGER*
Affiliation:
Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, James A. Haley VA, Tampa, Florida Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC
TRACY KRETZMER
Affiliation:
Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, James A. Haley VA, Tampa, Florida
RODNEY D. VANDERPLOEG
Affiliation:
Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, James A. Haley VA, Tampa, Florida Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC Department of Psychiatry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
LOUIS M. FRENCH
Affiliation:
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC Department of Neurology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
*
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Heather Belanger, Ph.D., James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, MHBS – 116B, 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33612, USA. E-mail: heather.belanger@va.gov

Abstract

Patients with a history of mild (n = 134) or moderate-to-severe (n = 91) TBI were asked to complete the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI) and the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist. Consistent with prior research, significantly more postconcussion symptoms were endorsed by the mild group. After controlling for age, time since injury, and mechanism of injury, TBI severity continued to be significantly related to postconcussion complaints on the NSI. However, after controlling for these same variables, along with posttraumatic stress disorder symptom severity, there no longer were differences between the TBI severity groups. That is, patients with mild TBI did not endorse significantly more complaints (adjusted mean = 22.4) than the moderate-to-severe group (adjusted mean = 21.8). These findings suggest that much of the symptom complaints in mildly injured patients may be due to emotional distress. (JINS, 2010, 16, 194–199.)

Type
Brief Communications
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2009

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