Misconceptions about traumatic brain injury among U.S. Army behavioral health professionals

Rehabil Psychol. 2015 Nov;60(4):344-52. doi: 10.1037/rep0000057. Epub 2015 Oct 5.


Purpose/objective: To investigate the knowledge and misconceptions about traumatic brain injury (TBI) held by behavioral health care professionals providing services to an active-duty military population.

Research method/design: Active duty U.S. Army psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and psychiatric nurses from locations across the Department of Defense, and behavioral health professionals from a major military hospital (N = 181) were surveyed on 19 common myths and misconceptions about TBI (Gouvier, Prestholdt, & Warner, 1988). Eight new items were added to the survey to more specifically assess misconceptions pertaining to mild TBI (mTBI).

Results: Mean percentages for the subcomponents of the questionnaire suggested that responses were generally accurate for general information about brain damage (83.61% correct) but less accurate for unconsciousness (45.81%), amnesia or memory loss (53%), and recovery items (64.8%). The total percent correct was 51% on the new mTBI items with a sizable minority of the sample viewing mTBI as being associated with lengthier recovery and poorer outcome than what has been indicated by recent research.

Conclusion/implications: Overall, misconceptions, particularly about mTBI, are prevalent among U.S. Army behavioral health providers. These findings raise concern about the dissemination of TBI information to health care professionals in the U.S. Army and to military personnel who may not be receiving accurate information about TBI recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Behavioral Medicine* / education
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Brain Concussion / rehabilitation
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / education
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult