Concussion/mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is common in military servicemembers and is associated with greater post-deployment cognitive, physical, and functional difficulties. Mounting evidence suggests that these putative sequelae of mTBI are largely accounted for by comorbid psychological factors. In the present study, we sought to replicate and extend prior research, hypothesizing that PTSD symptoms would mediate the relationships between history of mTBI and self-reported post-deployment health and daily function. Participants were 874 soldiers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) who completed a survey assessing mTBI during deployment, PTSD symptoms (PCL-17), and post-deployment health concerns, functional impairment, and sleep quality. History of mTBI was significantly associated with greater trauma symptoms (B=0.931, p<0.001), health concerns (B=0.794, p<0.001), and functional impairment (B=0.559, p<0.001), but not with sleep quality (p=0.589). Consistent with prior work, trauma symptoms partially mediated the associations of mTBI with health concerns (56% of total effect) and functional impairment (71% of total effect). While results are consistent with prior findings showing that psychological symptoms account for a large proportion of post-deployment symptoms in servicemembers with a history of mTBI, the replication of these associations acutely post-deployment underscores the clinical importance of early assessment and intervention for mental health symptoms.
|First Author||Bradley M. Avery|
|Second Author||Moira Dux|
|Third Author||Terry Lee-Wilk|
|Fourth Author||Kristina Clarke-Walper|
|Fifth Author||Joshua Wilk|