Return to Work Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury


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Abstract

Objective:To examine factors relating to return to work (RTW) following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).Participants:One hundred and nine patients (Age: M = 37.4 years, SD = 13.2; 52.3% women) who sustained an mTBI.Design:Inception cohort design with questionnaires and neuropsychological testing completed approximately 3 to 4 weeks postinjury.Setting:Emergency Department of Tampere University Hospital, Finland.Main Outcome Measures:Self-report (postconcussion symptoms, depression, fatigue, and general health) and neurocognitive measures (attention and memory).Results:The cumulative RTW rates were as follows: 1 week = 46.8%, 2 weeks = 59.6%, 3 weeks = 67.0%, 4 weeks = 70.6%, 2 months = 91.7%, and 1 year = 97.2%. Four variables were significant predictors of the number of days to RTW: age, multiple bodily injuries, intracranial abnormality at the day of injury, and fatigue ratings (all P < .001). The largest amount of variance accounted for by these variables in the prediction of RTW was at 30 days following injury (P < .001, R2 = 0.504). Participants who returned to work fewer than 30 days after injury (n = 82, 75.2%) versus more than 30 days (n = 27, 24.8%) did not differ on demographic or neuropsychological variables.Conclusions:The vast majority of this cohort returned to work within 2 months. Predictors of slower RTW included age, multiple bodily injuries, intracranial abnormality at the day of injury, and fatigue.

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