Objectives: Analyze the contribution of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the endorsement of postconcussive (PC) symptoms during Post Deployment Health Assessment. Determine whether a combination of mTBI and PTSD was more strongly associated with symptoms than either condition alone.
Methods: Cross-sectional study design where both the exposure, mTBI and/or PTSD, and the outcomes of interest, PC symptoms, were ascertained after return from deployment. Subjects were injured soldiers (n = 1247) from one Fort Carson Brigade Combat Team (n = 3973).
Main outcome measures: Positive history of PC symptoms.
Results: PTSD and mTBI together were more strongly associated with having PC symptoms (adjusted prevalence ratio 6.27; 95% CI: 4.13-9.43) than either mTBI alone (adjusted prevalence ratio = 4.03; 95% CI: 2.67-6.07) or PTSD alone (adjusted prevalence ratio = 2.74; 95% CI: 1.58-4.74) after adjusting for age, gender, education, rank, and Military Occupational Specialty.
Conclusions: In soldiers with histories of physical injury, mTBI and PTSD were independently associated with PC symptom reporting. Those with both conditions were at greater risk for PC symptoms than those with either PTSD, mTBI, or neither. Findings support the importance of continued screening for both conditions with the aim of early identification and intervention.