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A Longitudinal Study of Compensation-Seeking and Return to Work in a Treated Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Sample

Reynolds, Shawn PhD; Paniak, Chris PhD; Toller-Lobe, Geraldine BSc(PT); Nagy, Julianna MD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: March-April 2003 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 139–147
Moderating Factors in Rehabilitation Outcome
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Objective: In patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), to assess: (1) changes in financial compensation-seeking status over time and (2) the relationship between compensation-seeking and return to work.

Design: Longitudinal evaluation of financial compensation-seeking status (i.e., at intake, 3 months postinjury, and 12 months postinjury) and relationship of such status to return to work.

Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation clinic.

Subjects: Ninety-seven patients with MTBI.

Main outcome measures: Compensation-seeking status at 3 and 12 months and days taken to return to preinjury vocational activity.

Results: Those in litigation at intake generally continued to be in litigation at 3 and 12 months postinjury. Those seeking or receiving compensation via administrative means (e.g., sick pay or workers' compensation) at intake were generally not seeking or receiving compensation by 3 months or later, as was the case for most of those not seeking any financial compensation at intake. Patients seeking or receiving financial compensation via litigation and/or administrative means at intake took longer to return to work than did people who were not seeking or receiving compensation at intake.

Conclusions: The present study design does not allow for determination of the reasons for the strong relationship between financial compensation-seeking soon post-MTBI and a slow return to work. However, the strength of the present findings indicates that the presence or absence of financial compensation-seeking soon post-MTBI should be routinely evaluated when return to work is an issue.

The Psychology Service, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Reynolds)

Physical Therapy Service, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Toller-Lobe)

Medical Services, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (Nagy)

The Psychology Service, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Paniak)

Corresponding author: Chris Paniak, Psychology Service; Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, 10230–111 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T5G 0B7; E-mail: cpaniak@cha.ab.ca

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.