Research Reports - Investigating the connection between traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress symptoms in adolescents

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2017 May 17. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000319. [Epub
ahead of print]

Rhine T(1), Cassedy A, Yeates KO, Taylor HG, Kirkwood MW, Wade SL.

OBJECTIVE: To identify potentially modifiable individual and social-environmental
correlates of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among adolescents hospitalized
for traumatic brain injury (TBI).
SETTING: Four pediatric hospitals and 1 general hospital in the United States.
PARTICIPANTS: Children ages 11 to 18 years, hospitalized for moderate-severe TBI
within the past 18 months.
DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional analysis.
MAIN MEASURES: The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Post-traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD) Reaction Index and the Youth Self-Report (YSR) PTSD
subscale.
RESULTS: Of 147 adolescents enrolled, 65 (44%) had severe TBI, with an average
time since injury of 5.8 ± 4 months. Of the 104 who completed the UCLA-PTSD
Reaction Index, 22 (21%) reported PTSS and 9 (8%) met clinical criteria for PTSD.
Of the 143 who completed the YSR-PTSD subscale, 23 (16%) reported PTSS and 6 (4%)
met clinical criteria for PTSD. In multivariable analyses, having a negative
approach to problem solving and depressive symptoms were both associated (P <
.001) with higher levels of PTSS based on the UCLA-PTSD Reaction Index (β = 0.41
and β = 0.33, respectively) and the YSR-PTSD subscale (β = 0.33 and β = 0.40,
respectively).
CONCLUSION: Targeting negative aspects of problem solving in youths after brain
injury may mitigate PTSS. 

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