An examination of the base rates of post-concussion symptoms: the influence of demographics and depression

Appl Neuropsychol. 2010 Jan;17(1):1-7. doi: 10.1080/09084280903297495.


Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a controversial constellation of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms that some patients experience following a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion. PCS-like symptoms are commonly found in individuals with depression, pain, and stress, as well as healthy individuals. This study investigated the base rate of PCS symptoms in a healthy sample of 96 participants and examined the relationship between these symptoms, depression, and sample demographics. PCS symptoms were assessed using the British-Columbia Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory. Depression was measured using the Beck Depression Inventory II. Results demonstrated that: The base rate of PCS was very high; there was a strong positive relationship between depression and PCS; and demographic characteristics were not related to PCS in this sample. These findings are broadly consistent with literature suggesting a significant role for non-neurological factors in the expression of PCS symptomatology. This study adds to the growing body of literature that calls for caution in the clinical interpretation of results from PCS symptom inventories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Depression / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neuropsychology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / etiology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Young Adult