Research Reports - The influence of injury cause, contact-sport participation, and personal knowledge on expectation of outcome from mild traumatic brain injury

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2014 Apr;36(3):221-35

Edmed SL(1), Sullivan KA

OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the influence of injury cause, contact-sport
participation, and prior knowledge of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on
injury beliefs and chronic symptom expectations of mTBI.
METHOD: A total of 185 non-contact-sport players (non-CSPs) and 59 contact-sport
players (CSPs) with no history of mTBI were randomly allocated to one of two
conditions in which they read either a vignette depicting a sport-related mTBI
(mTBIsport) or a motor-vehicle-accident-related mTBI (mTBIMVA). The vignettes
were otherwise standardized to convey the same injury parameters (e.g., duration
of loss of consciousness). After reading a vignette, participants reported their
injury beliefs (i.e., perceptions of injury undesirability, chronicity, and
consequences) and their expectations of chronic postconcussion syndrome (PCS) and
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
RESULTS: Non-CSPs held significantly more negative beliefs and expected greater
PTSD symptomatology and greater PCS affective symptomatology from an mTBIMVA
vignette thann mTBIsport vignette, but this difference was not found for CSPs.
Unlike CSPs, non-CSPs who personally knew someone who had sustained an mTBI
expected significantly less PCS symptomatology than those who did not. Despite
these different results for non-CSPs and CSPs, overall, contact-sport
participation did not significantly affect injury beliefs and symptom
expectations from an mTBIsport.
CONCLUSIONS: Expectations of persistent problems after an mTBI are influenced by
factors such as injury cause even when injury parameters are held constant.
Personal knowledge of mTBI, but not contact sport participation, may account for
some variability in mTBI beliefs and expectations. These factors require
consideration when assessing mTBI outcome.

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