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Assessment of Veteran and Caregiver Knowledge About Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in a VA Medical Center

Block, Cady MS; Fabrizio, Katherine PhD; Bagley, Beau MD; Hannah, Joanna MD; Camp, Susan CRNP; Mindingall, Nazaren MSW, LGSW; Labbe, Don PhD; Lokken, Kristine PhD

Section Editor(s): Caplan, Bruce PhD, ABPP; Bogner, Jennifer PhD, ABPP

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: January/February 2014 - Volume 29 - Issue 1 - p 76–88
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3182886d78
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the accuracy of knowledge about mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) of veterans and their friends/family members.

Setting: VA Medical Center.

Participants: One hundred veterans and 50 of their friends/family members.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Main Measures: A 60-item questionnaire was created by drawing both from the Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory and from a brain injury knowledge survey developed for use with the general public.

Results: Both groups were equally able to identify true mild TBI items, but both also endorsed numerous items not typical of a mild injury. Self-reported prior TBI and receipt of TBI education were unrelated to the level of knowledge. For both groups, knowing another individual with TBI was unrelated to other aspects of mild TBI knowledge. Only 1 in 5 veterans endorsed receiving brain injury education while in the military.

Conclusion: Results of this study may assist in the development of targeted TBI educational interventions for veterans and their friends/family members within the Veterans Affairs system. Ultimately, increased knowledge about mild TBI improves the likelihood that veterans receive care congruent with their needs and may potentially improve outcomes for those with mild TBI.

Department of Psychology, Division of Medical-Clinical Psychology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham (Ms Block, Drs Fabrizio and Labbe); and Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Birmingham Veterans' Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama (Drs Bagley, Hannah, and Lokken and Mss Camp and Mindingall).

Corresponding Author: Cady Block, MS, Department of Psychology, Division of Medical-Clinical Psychology, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, CH 201, 1530 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35294 (cblock@uab.edu).

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.headtraumarehab.com).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins