Research Reports - Prevalence and severity of fatigue in adolescents and young adults with acquired brain injury

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2017 Sep 12:1-16. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2017.1371045. [Epub
ahead of print]

Norup A(1), Svendsen SW(2), Doser K(3), Ryttersgaard TO(4), Frandsen N(5), Gade
L(6), Forchhammer HB(1).

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the prevalence and severity of fatigue in adolescents
and young adults with acquired brain injury (ABI) compared with healthy controls
(HCs) and to examine associations between fatigue and gender, age and level of
METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 15-30 year old patients with ABI and
a convenience sample of 15-30 year old HCs. All participants completed the
20-item Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20). Pathological fatigue was
defined as "General Fatigue" ≥12. Adjusted mean differences between groups were
calculated using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). The adjusted
prevalence proportion ratio (PPRadj) of pathological fatigue was calculated using
Poisson regression.
RESULTS: The patients (n = 334) had higher scores than the HCs (n = 168) on all
MFI-20 subscales with adjusted mean differences ranging from 1.7 to 4.7 and a
higher prevalence of pathological fatigue (73% versus 29%), PPRadj 2.7 (95%
confidence interval 2.1-3.5). Female patients experienced more fatigue than males
on the "General Fatigue" and "Reduced Activity" subscales, while no gender
differences were found in the HC group. Patients and HCs with elementary
education had elevated scores on the "Reduced Activity" and "Mental Fatigue"
subscales. Age was not associated with any of the subscale scores.
CONCLUSION: Young patients with ABI had markedly higher prevalence and severity
of fatigue than HCs. Age (15-30 years) was not associated with fatigue. No clear
patterns of associations were evident with gender and level of education.
ABBREVIATIONS: ABI: acquired brain injury; CI: confidence interval; GF: general
fatigue; GOSE: Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended; HC: healthy control; MANCOVA:
multivariate analysis of covariance; MF: mental fatigue; MFI-20: Multidimensional
Fatigue Inventory-20; PF: physical fatigue; RA: reduced activity; RM: reduced
motivation; TBI: traumatic brain injury. 

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