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The Role of Self-Discrepancy Theory in Understanding Post–Traumatic Brain Injury Affective Disorders: A Pilot Study

Cantor, Joshua B. PhD; Ashman, Teresa A. PhD; Schwartz, Michael E. PsyD; Gordon, Wayne A. PhD; Hibbard, Mary R. PhD; Brown, Margaret PhD; Spielman, Lisa PhD; Charatz, Heather J. MA; Cheng, Zhifen MA

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: November-December 2005 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 527–543

This pilot study examined the utility of self-discrepancy theory (SDT) in explaining post–traumatic brain injury (TBI) depression and anxiety. The SDT model was expanded to include the discrepancy between the postinjury self and the preinjury self. Study participants were 21 individuals with mild to severe TBI residing in the community, who completed the Selves Interview, the Selves Adjective Checklist, the Beck Depression Inventory–II and the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Strong correlations were found between affective distress and self-discrepancies, as measured by the checklist. Scores on the interview were not related to affective distress. The findings suggest that further research is merited to examine the utility of the SDT in addressing issues of post-TBI depression and anxiety.

Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine (Drs Cantor, Ashman, Gordon, and Hibbard, and Ms Cheng) and Community Medicine (Dr Brown), Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York; and Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (Ms Charatz). Dr Schwartz is in private practice in New York, and Dr Spielman in Congers, NY.

Corresponding author: Joshua B. Cantor, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029 (e-mail:

The authors thank Dr Timothy Strauman for his generous assistance with this project. The preparation of this article was supported by grants H133B040033 and H133A020501 from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, US Department of Education.

Some of the findings herein were presented at the 82nd annual meeting of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, Chicago, IL, September, 2005.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.