Description of a multifaceted intervention programme for fatigue after acquired brain injury: a pilot study

Neuropsychol Rehabil. 2019 Jul;29(6):946-968. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2017.1344132. Epub 2017 Jul 5.


The purpose of this pilot study was to describe and explore a group-based multifaceted intervention for patients with fatigue after acquired brain injury (ABI). We hypothesised that post-intervention changes would result in reduced fatigue, in addition to improved emotional health, sleep and attentional control. Eight subjects with traumatic brain injury (n = 3) and cerebrovascular insults (n = 5) were included. Inclusion was based upon the presence of fatigue complaints. The participants received 36 hours of intervention. Changes related to fatigue, emotional health and sleep was assessed with self-rating measures. Additionally, a neuropsychological test (Conners' Continuous Performance Test II) was included as a measure of attentional control. All subjects were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and at 3 and 9 months follow-up. Findings indicated reduced fatigue levels (post-intervention and 3 months follow-up), anxiety (9 months follow-up), and daytime sleepiness (3 and 9 months follow-up). Pilot results suggest that multifaceted group-based interventions may have the potential to alleviate symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and sleepiness after ABI. At an individual level, a low load of psychological distress, insomnia symptoms, dysexecutive symptoms, in addition to a strong sense of self-efficacy, may be central in order to reduce levels of fatigue.

Keywords: Fatigue; brain injury; cognitive rehabilitation; goal management; self-efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / rehabilitation*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome