Trajectories of life satisfaction after traumatic brain injury: Influence of life roles, age, cognitive disability, and depressive symptoms

Rehabil Psychol. 2015 Nov;60(4):353-364. doi: 10.1037/rep0000056.


Objectives: (a) Identify life satisfaction trajectories after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI); (b) establish a predictive model for these trajectories across the first 5 years postinjury; and (c) describe differences in these life satisfaction trajectory groups, focusing on age, depressive symptoms, disability, and participation in specific life roles.

Research method: Analysis of the longitudinal TBI Model Systems National Database was performed on data collected prospectively at 1-, 2-, and 5-years post-TBI. Participants (n = 3,012) had a moderate to severe TBI and were 16 years old and older.

Results: Four life satisfaction trajectories were identified across the first 5 years postinjury, including: stable satisfaction, initial satisfaction declining, initial dissatisfaction improving, and stable dissatisfaction. Age, depressive symptoms, cognitive disability, and life role participation as a worker, leisure participant, and/ or religious participant at 1-year postinjury significantly predicted trajectory group membership. Life role participation and depressive symptoms were strong predictors of life satisfaction trajectories across the first 5 years post-TBI.

Conclusions: The previously documented loss of life roles and prevalence of depression after a moderate to severe TBI make this a vulnerable population for whom low or declining life satisfaction is a particularly high risk. Examining individual life role participation may help to identify relevant foci for community-based rehabilitation interventions or supports.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Culture*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Role*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Young Adult