The contribution of mild traumatic brain injury/concussion to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms
A controversial issue is whether TBI is a necessary precursor to the development of PTSD symptoms, or if the two variables are mutually exclusive. Recent rodent-models reveal that a stressful environment cannot cause PTSD symptoms directly without TBI, yet it is unknown if PTSD symptoms can develop following a TBI. This study provides a potential analogue to study this relationship by evaluating the effects of sports-related concussion. Purpose: This study investigated two questions, 1) Is there a significant difference in the frequency of PTSD symptoms reported by athletes at baseline (BL) testing and post-concussion (PC) testing over time? 2) Is there a significant difference in the frequency of PTSD symptoms in a more severely concussed and less severely concussed group of athletes in the acuity stage? Method: Athlete participants, both male and female, ages 17-28, were administered the ImPACT test, self-reported PTSD symptoms and levels of fear, stress, and anxiety in sports, at BL, PC1 (48-72 hours post-injury), PC2 (7-10 days) and PC3 (1-month). Non-concussed (n=365) and concussed (PC1 n= 98; PC2 n= 22; PC3 n=19) athletes were extracted from a pre-existing database. PTSD symptoms were evaluated across groups, and within individual athletes (n=37) post-injury. Groups of less severely concussed (n=23) and more severely concussed (n=27) athletes were evaluated at PC1. Athletes (n=45) self-reported the level of fear, stress, and anxiety that they experience in sports on a 7-point scale. Results: Multiple independent t-tests showed a statistically significant difference between PTSD symptoms at PC1 (M=1.58) and PC2 (M= 0.55) compared to the non-concussed (M= 0.18) group. At 1-month post-injury PTSD symptoms had decreased (M=0.37) showing no significant differences from BL. The same pattern of recovery was seen in a group of individual athletes (n=37). More severely concussed athletes reported more PTSD symptoms (M= 1.81) than the less severely concussed group (M= 0.96), with no significant difference. At BL, athletes experience anxiety (M=0.49), stress (M=0.93), and fear (M=0.49) at a minimal level (ratings of less than 1 out of 6). The major finding of this study is that concussed athletes report a statistically significant increase in PTSD symptoms following a sports-related concussion in the acuity stage, with a decrease in symptoms for 1-month post-concussion. Keywords: mTBI, sports-related concussion, PTSD symptoms, ImPACT, severity, fear, stress, anxiety.
Marshall, Kylie Lauren, "The contribution of mild traumatic brain injury/concussion to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1591974.