Primary objective: To study longitudinal changes in psychological coping strategies, social support, life orientation and health-related quality of life in the late period after traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Subjects: Thirty-one patients with TBI who were first investigated on average 2.3 years after injury and were prospectively followed on average 5.7 years later.
Methods: Estonian versions of the COPE-D Test, the Brief Social Support Questionnaire, the Life Orientation Test and the RAND-36 questionnaire.
Results: During the late follow-up period health-related quality of life and resuming work did not improve significantly. Persons with TBI reported an increase in seeking social/emotional support (p<0.05), frequent use of avoidance-oriented styles and reduced use of task-oriented styles. This was accompanied by low social support and low satisfaction with support, both of which were associated with health-related quality of life and resuming work after TBI. Although the patients had become more optimistic (p<0.05), this did not correlate with their health status and social well-being.
Conclusions: This prospective study revealed maladaptive changes in the profile of coping strategies and an increase in optimism. As social support, satisfaction with support and health-related quality of life did not improve, then rehabilitation, social and psychological support are continuously needed.