A longitudinal study of the relationship between financial compensation and symptoms after treated mild traumatic brain injury

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2002 Apr;24(2):187-93. doi: 10.1076/jcen.


Demographic, injury-related, and symptom variables at intake, 3 months, and 12 months postinjury were compared between 50 treated adults with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) who were not seeking or receiving financial compensation at any time and 18 who were at each time. Compensation seekers/receivers reported symptom incidence and severity as approximately 1 SD higher at each time. The level of difference between the groups did not significantly differ across time. No demographic variables distinguished the groups. No injury-related variable other than more immediate postinjury prescription medication use was predictive of the greater symptom complaints for the patients seeking or receiving compensation. However, this medication effect did not explain away the compensation effect when medication use was co-varied in an analysis. Our study appears to be the first to examine the relationship between financial compensation and symptom report in an MTBI sample specifically treated for their condition. Our results indicate that even highly patient-rated treatment is not adequate to wash out the strong relationship between financial compensation status and symptom report after MTBI.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis*
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Brain Concussion / rehabilitation
  • Brain Injury, Chronic* / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injury, Chronic* / psychology
  • Brain Injury, Chronic* / rehabilitation
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malingering / diagnosis*
  • Malingering / psychology
  • Malingering / rehabilitation
  • Motivation*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Treatment Outcome