Post-traumatic and emotional symptoms in different subgroups of patients with mild head injury

Brain Inj. Nov-Dec 1992;6(6):481-7. doi: 10.3109/02699059209008145.


Post-concussional symptoms, such as headache, dizziness and irritability, are thought to result from the emotional stress associated with decreased cognitive performance after a head injury. A questionnaire-based investigation was carried out in 71 patients with mild head injury (MHI), using a heterogeneous item pool in order to study the interrelationships between traditional post-concussive complaints, cognitive problems, and more emotional and functional complaints. Factor analysis indicated that post-concussive symptoms loaded together with items on problems associated with decreased work performance and fatigability on a first factor, whereas psychovegetative and emotional complaints loaded together on a second factor. Two rating scales were constructed from the relevant items and were used to compare between subgroups of MHI patients and non-concussed controls. Patients with uncomplicated MHI had significantly higher scores than non-concussed subjects on the post-concussive-cognitive scale, but not on the emotional-vegetative scale. Patients with multiple head injuries or pre-existing emotional problems had higher scores on both the post-concussive-cognitive scale and the emotional-vegetative scale than MHI patients without a history of emotional problems. Reliable rating scales may be useful in multidiagnostic studies of MHI patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion / psychology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / diagnosis
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*