Research Reports - Long-term mental fatigue after traumatic brain injury and impact on employment status

J Rehabil Med. 2017 Mar 6;49(3):228-233. doi: 10.2340/16501977-2190.

Palm S(1), Rönnbäck L, Johansson B.

OBJECTIVE: Long-term mental fatigue following traumatic brain injury is endorsed
as one of the most distressing symptoms, interfering considerably with return to
work and social life. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to estimate
the prevalence of long-term mental fatigue after traumatic brain injury and to
evaluate its association with employment status.
METHODS: All patients (age range 19-65 years) diagnosed with traumatic brain
injury irrespective of severity at Kungälv Hospital, Kungälv, Sweden, over a
period of 5 years (n = 613) were invited by post to respond to questions about
their injury, employment status and complete a questionnaire about mental
fatigue, the Mental Fatigue Scale (MFS).
RESULTS: A response rate of 38% was achieved. Among respondents, 39% scored above
the MFS cut-off of 10.5. Higher MFS scores were associated with decreased
employment status (p < 0.001). Rating on the MFS was higher for women, for those
with a longer initial duration of acute post-traumatic brain injury symptoms, and
for those who had previously experienced a traumatic brain injury. No association
was found between mental fatigue and age, severity of injury, or time since
CONCLUSION: Long-term mental fatigue was frequent among people who had
experienced a traumatic brain injury, and a higher rating on the MFS was
associated with decreased employment status. 

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