To examine the influence of anxiety sensitivity
(AS) and alexithymia
as potential mediators for the development of psychological distress
and postconcussion syndrome
after mild traumatic brain injury
Sixty-one patients with mTBI assessed at a mean of 2.38 weeks after injury and demographically matched healthy controls (n
Twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia
Scale, Anxiety Sensitivity
Index, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Rivermead Post Concussion Questionnaire.
The mTBI group reported significantly higher levels of AS, alexithymia
, psychological distress
, and postconcussion (PC) symptom scores than controls. High AS and alexithymia
in the mTBI group were associated with a greater number of PC symptoms and higher levels of psychological distress
than patients scoring low on these measures and controls. In the mTBI group, a combination of AS and low mood explained 52.6% of the variance in PC symptom reporting. A combination of trait-anxiety, alexithymia
, and PC symptoms explained 77.2% of the variance in levels of mood.
A combination of low mood and high AS may act as a psychological diathesis for the development of persisting PC symptoms. Early identification could provide a focus for early intervention to prevent the development of postconcussion syndrome