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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009 Mar;197(3):178-81. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318199fe7f.

Early stage assessment and course of acute stress disorder after mild traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.


Although it has been established that acute stress disorder (ASD) and posttraumatic stress disorder occur after mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) the qualitative differences in symptom presentation between injury survivors with and without a MTBI have not been explored in depth. This study aimed to compare the ASD and posttraumatic stress disorder symptom presentation of injury survivors with and without MTBI. One thousand one hundred sixteen participants between the ages of 17 to 65 years (mean age: 38.97 years, SD: 14.23) were assessed in the acute hospital after a traumatic injury. Four hundred seventy-five individuals met the criteria for MTBI. Results showed a trend toward higher levels of ASD in the MTBI group compared with the non-MTBI group. Those with a MTBI and ASD had longer hospital admissions and higher levels of distress associated with their symptoms. Although many of the ASD symptoms that the MTBI group scored significantly higher were also part of a postconcussive syndrome, higher levels of avoidance symptoms may suggest that this group is at risk for longer term poor psychological adjustment. Mild TBI patients may represent a injury group at risk for poor psychological adjustment after traumatic injury.

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