Feasibility and Potential Benefits of a Web-Based Intervention Delivered Acutely After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Adolescents: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Background:

There is a paucity of evidence-based interventions for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Objective:

To evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits of an interactive, Web-based intervention for mTBI.

Setting:

Emergency department and outpatient settings.

Participants:

Of the 21 adolescents aged 11 to 18 years with mTBI recruited from November 2013 to June 2014 within 96 hours of injury, 13 completed the program.

Design:

Prospective, open pilot.

Intervention:

The Web-based Self-Management Activity-restriction and Relaxation Training (SMART) program incorporates anticipatory guidance and psychoeducation, self-management and pacing of cognitive and physical activities, and cognitive-behavioral principles for early management of mTBI in adolescents.

Main Measures:

Primary: Daily Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS). Secondary: Daily self-reported ratings of activities and satisfaction survey.

Results:

Average time from injury to baseline testing was 14.0 (standard deviation = 16.7) hours. Baseline PCSS was 23.6 (range: 0-46), and daily activity was 1.8 (range: 0-5.75) hours. Repeated-measures, generalized linear mixed-effects model analysis demonstrated a significant decrease of PCSS at a rate of 2.0 points per day that stabilized after about 2 weeks. Daily activities, screen time, and physical activity increased by 0.06 (standard error [SE] = 0.04, P = .09), 0.04 (SE = 0.02, P = .15), and 0.03 (SE = 0.02, P = .05) hours per day, respectively, over the 4-week follow-up. Satisfaction was rated highly by parents and youth.

Conclusions:

Self-Management Activity-restriction and Relaxation Training is feasible and reported to be helpful and enjoyable by participants. Future research will need to determine the comparative benefits of SMART and ideal target population.

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