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Estimates of the prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) among
military personnel and combat veterans rely almost exclusively on
retrospective self-reports; however, reliability of these reports has
received little attention.
To examine the consistency of reporting of mTBI over time and identify
factors associated with inconsistent reporting.
A longitudinal cohort of 948 US National Guard Soldiers deployed to Iraq
completed self-report questionnaire screening for mTBI and psychological
symptoms while in-theatre 1 month before returning home (time 1,
T1) and 1 year later (time 2, T2).
Most respondents (n = 811, 85.5%) were consistent in
their reporting of mTBI across time. Among those who were inconsistent in
their reports (n = 137, 14.5%), the majority denied mTBI
at T1 and affirmed mTBI at T2 (n = 123, 89.8%). Respondents rarely
endorsed mTBI in-theatre and later denied mTBI (n = 14,
10.2% of those with inconsistent reports). Post-deployment post-traumatic
stress symptoms and non-specific physical complaints were significantly
associated with inconsistent report of mTBI.
Military service members' self-reports of mTBI are generally consistent
over time; however, inconsistency in retrospective self-reporting of mTBI
status is associated with current posttraumatic stress symptoms and
non-specific physical health complaints.
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