The influence of traumatic brain injury on acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder following motor vehicle accidents

Brain Inj. 1999 Jan;13(1):15-22. doi: 10.1080/026990599121836.


This study compared the acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom profiles in motor vehicle accident survivors who sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or no TBI. Consecutive adult patients who sustained a MTBI (n = 79) and no TBI (n = 92) were assessed for acute stress disorder within 1 month of their trauma and reassessed for PTSD (MTBI: n = 63; non-TBI; n = 72) 6-months post-trauma. Comparable rates of acute stress disorder and PTSD were reported in MTBI and non-TBI patients. Intrusive memories and fear and helplessness in response to the trauma were reported less frequently by MTBI than non-TBI patients at the acute phase. Six-months post-trauma fewer MTBI patients than non-TBI reported fear and helplessness in response to the trauma. These findings suggest that, whereas impaired consciousness at the time of a trauma may reduce the frequency of traumatic memories in the initial month post-trauma, MTBI does not result in a different profile of longer-term PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavioral Symptoms / classification
  • Brain Injuries* / complications
  • Brain Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries* / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / classification
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / classification
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Survivors / classification
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices