Factors associated with inconsistency in self-reported mild traumatic brain injury over time among military personnel in Iraq

Nathaniel W. Nelson, Carolyn R. Anderson, Paul Thuras, Shannon M. Kehle-Forbes, Paul A. Arbisi, Christopher R. Erbes, Melissa A. Polusny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Estimates of the prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) among military personnel and combat veterans rely almost exclusively on retrospective self-reports; however, reliability of these reports has received little attention. Aims To examine the consistency of reporting of mTBI over time and identify factors associated with inconsistent reporting. Method A longitudinal cohort of 948 US National Guard Soldiers deployed to Iraq completed self-report questionnaire screening for mTBI and psychological symptoms while in-theatre 1 month before returning home (time 1, T1) and 1 year later (time 2, T2). Results Most respondents (n = 811, 85.5%) were consistent in their reporting of mTBI across time. Among those who were inconsistent in their reports (n = 137, 14.5%), the majority denied mTBI at T1 and affirmed mTBI at T2 (n = 123, 89.8%). Respondents rarely endorsed mTBI in-theatre and later denied mTBI (n = 14, 10.2% of those with inconsistent reports). Post-deployment post-traumatic stress symptoms and non-specific physical complaints were significantly associated with inconsistent report of mTBI. Conclusions Military service members' self-reports of mTBI are generally consistent over time; however, inconsistency in retrospective self-reporting of mTBI status is associated with current posttraumatic stress symptoms and non-specific physical health complaints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume206
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

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Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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