Symptoms of post-traumatic stress: intrusion and avoidance 6 and 12 months after TBI

Brain Inj. 2006 Jun;20(7):733-42. doi: 10.1080/02699050600773276.


Primary objectives: (1) To examine survivors with traumatic brain injury (TBI) for symptoms of avoidance and intrusion, two dimensions of post-traumatic stress (PTS) at 6 and 12 months post-injury. (2) To identify risk factors associated with these symptoms.

Research design: Prospective follow-up study.

Methods and procedures: Georgia and North Carolina Model Brain Injury Systems participants (n = 198) with mild (19%), moderate (21%) and severe (60%) TBI were interviewed by telephone at 6 and 12 months post-injury. The Impact of Event Scale (IES) was used to identify intrusion and avoidance symptoms.

Results: Symptoms consistent with severe PTS increased from 11% at 6 months to 16% 12 months post-injury (p < 0.003). African-Americans (p < 0.01) and women (p < 0.05) reported greater symptomatology at 12 months compared to their counterparts. TBI severity and memory of the event were not associated with PTS-like symptoms. Symptoms increased over time when examined by race, injury intent, gender and age (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Regardless of severity, survivors with TBI are at risk for developing symptoms consistent with PTS. Amnesia for the injury event was not protective against developing these symptoms. African-Americans appear to be at greatest risk.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Amnesia, Anterograde / etiology
  • Amnesia, Anterograde / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / ethnology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*