Follow-up may help prevent or reverse life dissatisfaction up to 5 years post-TBI


Juengst, S. B., Adams, L. M., Bogner, J. A., Arenth, P. M., O’Neil-Pirozzi, T. M., Dreer, L. E., ... & Wagner, A. K. (2015). Trajectories of life satisfaction after traumatic brain injury: Influence of life roles, age, cognitive disability, and depressive symptoms. Rehabilitation Psychology60(4), 353. doi:10.1037/rep0000056


Research has found low life satisfaction commonly occurs after TBI and generally improves over time. However, to expand our understanding, the authors proposed subgroups of individuals with TBI may encounter different life satisfaction trajectories over 5 years (and amidst possible life role changes). Objectives were evaluated using latent class growth analysis of a sample (N=690) from the TBI Model Systems National Database. Measures of depressive symptoms, motor disability, cognitive disability, life roles (e.g., home maintainer, student, worker, friend, family member, leisure activities participant, volunteer, and religious activities participant), and life satisfaction were included. A final conditional model resulted in four trajectory groups: stable satisfaction, stable dissatisfaction, initial dissatisfaction improving, and initial satisfaction declining. Age, depressive symptoms, cognitive disability, and three life roles of worker, leisure participant, and religious participant predicted group membership. The stable satisfaction group had the highest young adult and older adult participants, with the highest life role participation, and lowest cognitive disability and depressive symptoms. The stable dissatisfaction group generally showed the opposite pattern. The initial satisfaction declining group showed lower worker and leisure role participation and decreased dissatisfaction in those younger than 60 (over time); whereas, the initial dissatisfaction improving group showed improved life role participation and life satisfaction, with lower depressive symptoms, over time. The authors suggest follow up, to address life role and depressive changes beyond one year, may help prevent or reverse life dissatisfaction up to 5 years postinjury.

I PICKED THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE it provides empirical support and education in favor of ongoing follow up (psychological, vocational, and recreational) to maintain or improve life satisfaction outcomes in individuals with moderate to severe TBI up to 5 years postinjury.

This month’s rehabilitation spotlight was chosen by Caitlin Reese, Ph.D., Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation