Primary objectives: To study the variables that relate to outcome after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Methods and procedures: Sixty-seven adults with disappointing recoveries after mild TBI most occurring in a compensation or litigation context were studied with regard to pre-injury, neuro-trauma, physical, emotional and cognitive variables on outcome. Validity of physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms was controlled for.
Main outcomes and results: Except for prior psychological traumatization, neither pre-injury, neuro-trauma or cognitive variables were related to outcome. Variables most consistently related to outcome were depression, pain and symptom invalidity on measures of response bias. These factors accounted for the majority of variance in outcome.
Conclusions: In cases of poor recovery after mild TBI where compensation or litigation may be a factor, most of the variance in recovery seems to be explained by depression, pain and symptom invalidity, rather than by the injury variables themselves.