Research Reports - Prevalence and predictors of personality change after severe brain injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Jan;96(1):56-62

Norup A(1), Mortensen EL(2)

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the prevalence of personality change after severe
brain injury; to identify predictors of personality change; and to investigate
whether personality change is associated with distress in family members.
DESIGN: A longitudinal study of personality change.
SETTING: Rehabilitation unit.
PARTICIPANTS: The study sample was composed of 22 pairs of patients with
traumatic brain injury or nontraumatic brain injury (N=22) and their significant
others (SOs).
INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: An SO completed the observer version of the NEO Five
Factor Inventory rating the patient at discharge from hospital and 1 year after
injury. The SOs were also asked to complete the anxiety and depression scales of
the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, rating their own emotional condition and
health-related quality of life (HRQOL) as assessed by the 4 mental scales of the
Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey.
RESULTS: Of the sample, 59.1% experienced personality change after acquired brain
injury, and the most dominant changes were observed in the personality traits of
neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness. Changes in neuroticism were
most often observed in patients with frontal or temporal lesions. Generally,
personality changes in patients were not associated with more distress and lower
HRQOL in family members; however, change in patient agreeableness was associated
with lower HRQOL on the role limitations-emotional scale.
CONCLUSIONS: Personality change was observed in most patients with severe brain
injury. Change in neuroticism was associated with frontal and temporal lesions.
Generally, personality change was not associated with more distress and lower
HRQOL in SOs.

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