Reporting of neuropsychological dysfunction remains discrepant between individuals with traumatic brain injury and their close others up to five years post-injury

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Purpose: The degree to which individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their close others share a common understanding and experience of post-injury neuropsychological changes is currently unclear. The aim of this preliminary study was to longitudinally examine levels of agreement between self and close other reports of neuropsychological dysfunction following TBI and explore factors associated with these agreement levels. Method: Sixty-three people with TBI and their nominated close others independently completed the Structured Outcome Questionnaire at 1- and 5-years post-injury, reporting whether the person with TBI was experiencing any negative cognitive, behavioural or emotional changes compared to pre-injury. Results: Agreement levels between pair members ranged from chance to approximately 75 across neuropsychological domains and did not significantly change over 1- and 5-year time points. In the case of pair disagreement, close others were generally more likely to report difficulties. Pair disagreement was significantly associated with close other anxiety. Conclusions: Agreement between self and close others remains limited up to 5-years post-injury which questions the practice of using these reports interchangeably in research and clinical practice. Preliminary findings suggest some association between pair disagreement and close other psychological function; however, further research is warranted.Implications for RehabilitationReporting of neuropsychological dysfunction between individuals with TBI and their close others is not sufficiently reliable to warrant interchangeable use within research or clinical practice.Including both individuals with TBI and their close others in clinical assessments will facilitate a more holistic understanding of the client?s difficulties and their relationships with those close to them.Preliminary findings indicate that disagreement between individuals with TBI and their close others may be associated with close other anxiety. Clinicians should be aware of the potential for disagreement to impact on the psychological health of close others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1470
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Longitudinal
  • neuropsychological dysfunction
  • self-report
  • significant others
  • traumatic brain injury

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