To examine racial/ethnic disparities in community participation among veterans and active duty service members with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Five Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) TBI Model Systems (TBIMS) Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (PRCs). Participants: Three hundred forty-two community-dwelling adults (251 White, 34 Black, and 57 Hispanic) with TBI enrolled in the VA TBIMS National Database who completed a 1-year follow-up interview. Mean age was 38.6 years (range, 19-84 years).
Cross-sectional analysis of a prospective observational cohort study. Main Measures: Community participation at 1 year postinjury assessed by 3 domains of the Participation Assessment with Recombined Tools–Objective (PART-O): Out & About, Productivity, and Social Relations.
Significant differences were observed among race/ethnicity groups in PART-O Productivity and Out & About domains without controlling for relevant participant characteristics; Productivity scores were significantly higher for non-Hispanic Black than for non-Hispanic White participants (t = 2.40, P = .0169). Out & About scores were significantly higher for Hispanic than for non-Hispanic White participants (t = 2.79, P = .0056). However, after controlling for demographic, injury severity, and 1-year follow-up characteristics, only differences in the Out & About domain remained statistically significant (t = 2.62, P = .0094), with scores being significantly higher for Hispanics than for non-Hispanic Whites.
The results, which differ from findings from studies conducted in non-VA healthcare settings where there are greater racial/ethnic disparities in participation outcomes, could reflect differences between military and civilian samples that may reduce disparities.