Factors moderating neuropsychological outcomes following mild traumatic brain injury: a meta-analysis

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2005 May;11(3):215-27. doi: 10.1017/S1355617705050277.


There continues to be debate about the long-term neuropsychological impact of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). A meta-analysis of the relevant literature was conducted to determine the impact of MTBI across nine cognitive domains. The analysis was based on 39 studies involving 1463 cases of MTBI and 1191 control cases. The overall effect of MTBI on neuropsychological functioning was moderate (d = .54). However, findings were moderated by cognitive domain, time since injury, patient characteristics, and sampling methods. Acute effects (less than 3 months postinjury) of MTBI were greatest for delayed memory and fluency (d = 1.03 and .89, respectively). In unselected or prospective samples, the overall analysis revealed no residual neuropsychological impairment by 3 months postinjury (d = .04). In contrast, clinic-based samples and samples including participants in litigation were associated with greater cognitive sequelae of MTBI (d = .74 and .78, respectively at 3 months or greater). Indeed, litigation was associated with stable or worsening of cognitive functioning over time. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index