Development of posttraumatic stress disorder after mild traumatic brain injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Feb;93(2):287-92. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.08.041.


Objective: To examine the incidence of and factors associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 6 months after civilian mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

Design: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial of telephone follow-up versus usual care to reduce MTBI symptoms and improve function.

Setting: In-person and telephone interviews.

Participants: Prospectively studied participants (N=239) with MTBI enrolled in the emergency department.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Secondary analysis with main outcome measure of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version.

Results: At 6 months after MTBI, 17% of participants met criteria for diagnosis of PTSD. Logistic regression predicting PTSD from baseline characteristics showed that participants who were Hispanic versus white, non-Hispanic and who, at the time of injury, described themselves as less happy and believed they would be more affected by their injury were significantly more likely to have PTSD.

Conclusions: Rates of PTSD in civilian MTBI in this study are consistent with prior research. Results suggest that personality characteristics and attribution regarding the injury may impact the development of PTSD. Early interventions addressing risk factors may prevent or reduce the likelihood of developing PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Happiness
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Life Change Events
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*