Primary Language and Participation Outcomes in Hispanics With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Study

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2021 Jul-Aug;36(4):E218-E225. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000655.


Objective: To examine the relationship between primary language and participation outcomes in English- and Spanish-speaking persons with complicated mild to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) at 1 year post-injury.

Setting: Community following discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.

Participants: A total of 998 Hispanic participants with outcomes available at year 1 follow-up; 492 (49%) indicated English as their primary language and 506 (51%) indicated Spanish as their primary language.

Design: Prospective, multicenter, cross-sectional, observational cohort study.

Main measures: Community participation at 1 year post-injury was assessed by 3 domains of the Participation Assessment with Recombined Tools-Objective (PART-O): Out and About, Productivity, and Social Relations.

Results: Unadjusted group comparisons showed better participation outcomes for English versus Spanish speakers for all PART-O domains and for the Balanced Total score. After controlling for relevant covariates, English-speaking participants had significantly better PART-O Balanced Total scores and better scores on the Social Relations domain, although effect sizes were small.

Conclusions: Hispanic persons with TBI whose primary language is Spanish may require greater assistance integrating socially back into their communities after TBI. However, potential cultural differences in value placed on various social activities must be considered. Potential cultural bias inherent in existing measures of participation should be investigated in future studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Prospective Studies