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Predictors of Psychiatric Disorders Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Whelan-Goodinson, Rochelle DPsych; Ponsford, Jennie Louise PhD; Schönberger, Michael PhD; Johnston, Lisa PhD

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

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: September/October 2010 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - p 320–329
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181c8f8e7

Objective: To investigate predictors of posttraumatic brain injury psychiatric disorders.

Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional design with stratified random sampling of groups of patients on average 1 to 5 years postinjury. DSM-based diagnostic interviews of both traumatic brain injury (TBI) participant and informant.

Participants: One hundred community-based participants, aged 19–74 years, with traumatic brain injury sustained 0.05–5.5 years previously.

Setting: Community-based patients previously treated at a rehabilitation hospital.

Main measure: The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV diagnosis.

Results: A psychiatric history was a high-risk factor for having the same disorder postinjury. However, the majority of cases of depression and anxiety were novel, suggesting that significant factors other than pre-TBI psychiatric status contribute to post-TBI psychiatric outcome. Female gender, lower education, and pain were also associated with postinjury depression and unemployment and older age with anxiety.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that long-term screening and support are important for individuals with TBI, regardless of preinjury psychiatric status.

School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University (Drs Whelan-Goodinson, Ponsford, and Schönberger), and Monash-Epworth Rehabilitation Research Centre (Dr Johnston), Epworth Hospital, National Trauma Research Institute (Dr Ponsford), Melbourne, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Jennie Louise Ponsford, PhD, School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Bldg 17, Clayton, Victoria, Australia 3800 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.