Quality of Life for Youth With Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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The primary aim of this study was to characterize parent- and youth-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for youth experiencing persistent symptoms following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The youth in the current study were participating in a longitudinal project examining neuropsychological consultation as an intervention for persistent symptoms after mTBI. Participants included 71 youth aged 8 to17 years old who had sustained mild head injuries 2 to 12 months prior to enrollment and who were referred clinically to an outpatient pediatric concussion program because of concerns about persistent problems. Parents and children completed the PedsQL over the phone at the time of enrollment. Child- and parent-reported HRQOL was significantly worse than for other pediatric populations with a variety of chronic health conditions. HRQOL was not associated with injury-related factors. One important novel finding was that families involved in litigation reported significantly lower HRQOL than families not involved in litigation. Providers would benefit from screening for involvement in litigation early on. Children who experience persistent symptomatology and impaired functioning following mTBI are likely to benefit most from early intervention and reassurance de-emphasizing injury-related factors and focusing on cognitive–behavioral treatment aimed at improving adaptive coping, pain management, and stress reduction.

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