Objective: To test the effectiveness of a neuropsychologic rehabilitation program consisting of psychotherapy and cognitive remediation in the treatment of the affective and neuropsychologic sequelae of mild-spectrum traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Design: Single-blind randomized, wait-listed controlled trial, with repeated measures and multiple baselines.
Setting: Outpatient clinic in northern New Jersey.
Participants: Twenty persons with persisting complaints after mild and moderate TBI (11 in treatment group, 9 controls).
Interventions: The experimental group received both 50 minutes of individual cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and 50 minutes of individual cognitive remediation, 3 times a week for 11 weeks. The control group was wait-listed and received treatment after conclusion of follow-up.
Main outcome measures: Symptom Check List-90R General Symptom Index, plus scales of depression, anxiety, coping, attention, and neuropsychologic functioning.
Results: Compared with the control group, the treatment group showed significantly improved emotional functioning, including lessened anxiety and depression. Most significant improvements in emotional distress were noted at 1 month and 3 months posttreatment. Performance on a measure of divided auditory attention also improved, but no changes were noted in community integration scores.
Conclusions: Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and cognitive remediation appear to diminish psychologic distress and improve cognitive functioning among community-living persons with mild and moderate TBI.