Objective: To determine relationships among chronic stress, fatigue-related quality of life (QOL-F), and related covariates after mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Design: Observational and cross-sectional.
Participants: A total of 84 community-dwelling individuals with mild to moderate TBI recruited from multiple out patient rehabilitation clinics assessed on average 15 months after injury.
Method: Self-report surveys and chart abstraction.
Measures: Neurofunctional Behavioral Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale–14, Impact of Events Scale, McGill Pain Short-form Scale, and modified version of the Fatigue Impact Scale.
Results: QOL-F was associated with somatic symptoms, perceived situational stress, but not with event-related stress (posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms) related to index TBI, preinjury demographic, or postinjury characteristics. Somatic symptoms and chronic situational stress accounted for 42% of the variance in QOL-F.
Conclusions: QOL-F in community-dwelling individuals with mild to moderate TBI is associated with chronic situational stress and somatic symptoms. Symptom management strategies may need to include general stress management to reduce fatigue burden and improve quality of life.