Primary caregivers' psychological status and family functioning after traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 1994 Apr;8(3):197-210. doi: 10.3109/02699059409150973.


This study investigated the prevalence of psychological distress and unhealthy family functioning among primary caregivers of 62 adult outpatients with traumatic brain injury, using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the Family Assessment Device (FAD). Approximately half of the caregivers reported elevated distress as indicated by scores on the BSI General Stress Index. Elevations on the Anxiety scale were evident among one-third of the sample, and one-fourth demonstrated elevations on the Depression subscale. Elevated scores on the Paranoid Ideation and Psychoticism scales suggested that feelings of burden and alienation were commonly reported. As indicated by the FAD, caregivers showed greater levels of unhealthy functioning relative to published norms for non-patient and medical patient samples, but showed better functioning than psychiatric samples. Spouses were significantly more likely to report elevated depression scores compared to parents. There was also a trend for spouses to report greater unhealthy family functioning than parents. Findings are consistent with those reported by European researchers. Experience indicates that the BSI and FAD are potentially valuable clinical and research tools.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / diagnosis
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology
  • Aged
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / rehabilitation*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Employment, Supported
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Inventory