Gender differences in agitation after traumatic brain injury

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Oct;83(10):747-52. doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000140790.30468.f4.


Objective: To determine sex differences in extent and type of posttraumatic agitation during acute rehabilitation.

Design: This prospective, observational study was performed at a Midwest, regional, university-based acute rehabilitation center.

Results: In a total of 158 subjects, comprising 120 men (76%) and 38 women (24%), there were no significant differences between male and female subjects for age, Glasgow Coma Scale score, Rancho Los Amigos Level of Cognitive Functioning Scale, Mini Mental State Exam, days in acute hospital, and days in rehabilitation. No difference in incidence was observed between sexes based on the criterion of agitation as three or more abnormal total Agitated Behavior Scale scores in 48 hrs (P = 0.890). Also, no difference in posttraumatic agitation between the two sexes (P = 0.396) was observed with the criterion of agitation as two or more abnormal total Agitated Behavior Scale scores in 2 days. There were no differences observed between the sexes for peak intensity and average intensity for the total score or each of the factor scores of the Agitated Behavior Scale.

Conclusion: Posttraumatic agitation is seen in approximately 50% of patients after traumatic brain injury and usually lasts for <10 days. There are no significant sex differences in the frequency, duration, presentation, or extent of posttraumatic agitation. These data imply that both sexes, despite any predetermined notions, should be treated equally with respect to posttraumatic agitation management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Agitation / classification
  • Psychomotor Agitation / drug therapy
  • Psychomotor Agitation / epidemiology*
  • Rehabilitation Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents