Understanding the 'miserable minority': a diasthesis-stress paradigm for post-concussional syndrome

Brain Inj. 2004 Nov;18(11):1135-53. doi: 10.1080/02699050410001675906.


Opinions about persisting post-concussional symptoms after minor traumatic brain injury still reflect a polarization of views around the sterile debate concerning the psychological vs organic origins of symptoms. Reviews of the experimental literature do not always integrate the often diverse perspectives that explain persisting symptoms of concussion. As a result, the disorder is still poorly understood. In this review, a diasthesis-stress paradigm examines the interaction between physiological and psychological factors that generate and maintain post-concussional symptoms. Motivational factors and different coping strategies are considered to explain why some people are at risk of developing a post-concussional syndrome. The early iatrogenic potential of GPs and hospital doctors who may create insecurity or reinforce illness perceptions is considered. Finally, the rationale and effectiveness of interventions that ameliorate the impact of early post-concussional symptoms is reviewed to see if prevention of the post-concussional syndrome is more effective than cure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / pathology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / rehabilitation
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Disease Susceptibility / psychology
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Motivation
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / etiology*
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / psychology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / therapy
  • Risk Factors