Long-term psychosocial outcome following mild traumatic brain injury and minor stroke: a direct longitudinal comparison

Daan P. J. Verberne, Rudolf W. H. M. Ponds, Mariëlle E. A. L. Kroese, Melloney L. M. Wijenberg, Dennis G. Barten, Raphaël Pasmans, Julie Staals, Caroline M. van Heugten

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Background and purpose: Research suggests comparable long-term psychosocial outcomes following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and minor stroke, but no direct comparison has been made. This study aimed to directly compare psychosocial outcome over time in persons with mTBI and minor stroke. Methods: In this multicenter, prospective longitudinal cohort study, community-dwelling persons with mTBI (n = 182) and minor stroke (n = 48) were assessed at 6 weeks, 3, 6 and 12 months post-injury. Outcome measures included anxiety and depression symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale—HADS), cognitive problems in daily life (Checklist for Cognitive and Emotional Consequences of Stroke—CLCE-24) and quality of life (EuroQol-5D-5L—EQ-5D-5L). Multilevel growth curve modeling, controlled for demographic variables, was used to determine outcomes over time between groups. Proportions of persons reporting persistent psychosocial symptoms at 6 months post-injury were compared using Pearson’s Chi-squared tests. Results: Improvements in outcomes were observed in the first 6 months and effects stabilized to 12 months post-injury in both groups. Minor stroke cases reported significantly higher levels of HADS anxiety and a significantly reduced increase in EQ-5D-5L utility scores than mTBI cases, but differences were small in absolute numbers. No significant differences were observed between groups regarding HADS depression and CLCE-24 cognition scores. Proportions of persons reporting persistent psychosocial symptoms were equal between groups. Conclusions: Psychosocial outcome is largely comparable following mTBI and minor stroke. Specific attention should be paid to anxiety symptoms and cognitive problems in daily life for which uniform aftercare seems appropriate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2132-2140
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injuries
  • Emotional adjustment
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Primary health care
  • Social participation
  • Stroke
  • traumatic

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