The impact of cultural background on outcome following traumatic brain injury

Jennie Ponsford, Marina Downing, Helen Pechlivanidis

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Most traumatic brain injury (TBI) outcome studies have been conducted in developed countries involving individuals from the dominant culture. The present study compared outcomes following TBI in individuals from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds with those from non-CALD backgrounds. 103 CALD and 103 non-CALD participants with predominantly moderate to severe TBI completed a series of questionnaires an average of 22 months post-injury. Groups were comparable in most demographic and injury-related variables, but CALD participants had lower pre-injury employment rates. Individuals in the CALD group were significantly less independent in light domestic duties, shopping, and financial management and reported significantly lower cognitive independence, mobility, and participation in occupational and social activities than non-CALD participants post-injury. They also reported heightened awareness of post-injury deficits, different beliefs regarding injury consequences and factors aiding recovery, more anxiety and depression symptoms, and less problem-focused coping. Higher functional outcome was associated with having a value system that is Australian, younger age at injury, and higher education. Overall, independent of rehabilitation access, individuals from a CALD background showed poorer functional outcome following TBI than those from a non-CALD background. Addressing this discrepancy should be a priority for rehabilitation programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cultural background
  • Ethnicity
  • Outcome
  • Traumatic brain injury

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