Research Reports - Predictors of criminal arrest after traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2015 Sep-Oct;30(5):E3-E13. doi:

Elbogen EB(1), Wolfe JR, Cueva M, Sullivan C, Johnson J.

OBJECTIVE: To examine how pre-traumatic brain injury (TBI) variables and
TBI-related characteristics predict post-TBI criminal arrest, using longitudinal
data from the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System National Database.
SETTINGS: Medical hospitals; rehabilitation facilities.
PARTICIPANTS: Participants with documented TBI and nonmissing Traumatic Brain
Injury Model System data, resulting in N = 6315 at 1 year post-TBI, N = 4982 at 2
years post-TBI, and N = 2690 at 5 years post-TBI.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with secondary data analysis of the relationship
between pre-TBI/TBI factors and post-TBI criminal arrest as measured at 3 time
MAIN MEASURES: Self-report of post-TBI criminal arrest.
RESULTS: Post-TBI criminal arrest was associated with gender, age, marital
status, educational attainment, pre-TBI felony, pre-TBI drug abuse, pre-TBI
alcohol abuse, and violent cause of TBI. Frontal, temporal, parietal, or
occipital lobe lesions from computed tomographic scans did not predict post-TBI
criminal arrests. Higher numbers of post-TBI arrests were predicted by loss of
consciousness (≥24 hours), combined with retention of motor function.
CONCLUSION: Premorbid variables, especially pre-TBI felonies, were strongly
linked to post-TBI criminal arrests. The relationship between TBI and arrest was
complex, and different brain functions (eg, physical mobility) should be
considered when understanding this association. Findings highlight that for
post-TBI criminal behavior, many risk factors mirror those of the non-TBI general

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