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Factors Predicting Return to Work Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Discriminant Analysis

Drake, Angela I. PhD; Gray, Nicola BApp Sci, BCN, OTR; Yoder, Susan MA; Pramuka, Michael PhD; Llewellyn, Mark MD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: October 2000 - Volume 15 - Issue 5 - p 1103–1112
Defense and Veterans Head Injury Program

Studies of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) suggest that most individuals recover rapidly and return to their everyday activities. However, a percentage of MTBI patients report persistent problems with cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms. There is also evidence that some experience changes in occupational functioning following MTBI. The current study used a stepwise discriminant function analysis (DFA) to examine the role of injury severity variables, cognitive performance, and ratings of symptoms of TBI in predicting work status following MTBI. Subjects included 121 MTBI patients who were all active-duty military personnel. The stepwise DFA revealed that age and three cognitive variables (verbal memory, verbal fluency, and a speed test of planning and strategy) were predictive of work status 3–15 months following a documented MTBI, correctly classifying work status 68.8% of the time. A cross-validation DFA was conducted, with a 66.1% correct classification rate. These findings highlight the importance of cognitive impairments in identifying those at risk for occupational impairment following MTBI.

Neuropsychologist* (Drake)

Occupational Therapist* (Gray)

Clinical Research Coordinator* (Yoder)

Clinical Neuropsychologist* (Pramuka)

Division Head, Neurology, Department of Neurosciences, Naval Medical Center, San Diego, California (Llewellyn)

This study was supported by the Defense and Veterans Head Injury Program. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agency or the U.S. Navy. The authors would like to thank Andres Salazar, James Bloom, and Philip Catron for their support in conducting this study and Terry Bondurant, LCSW, for her invaluable assistance in preparing this manuscript.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.