Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Symposia

Post-traumatic amnesia and the nature of post-traumatic stress disorder after mild traumatic brain injury

RICHARD A. BRYANTa1 c1, MARK CREAMERa2, MEAGHAN O’DONNELLa2, DERRICK SILOVEa3, C. RICHARD CLARKa4 and ALEXANDER C. MCFARLANEa5

a1 School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

a2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

a3 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

a4 Department of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

a5 Department of Psychiatry, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Abstract

The prevalence and nature of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is controversial because of the apparent paradox of suffering PTSD with impaired memory for the traumatic event. In this study, 1167 survivors of traumatic injury (MTBI: 459, No TBI: 708) were assessed for PTSD symptoms and post-traumatic amnesia during hospitalization, and were subsequently assessed for PTSD 3 months later (N = 920). At the follow-up assessment, 90 (9.4%) patients met criteria for PTSD (MTBI: 50, 11.8%; No-TBI: 40, 7.5%); MTBI patients were more likely to develop PTSD than no-TBI patients, after controlling for injury severity (adjusted odds ratio: 1.86; 95% confidence interval, 1.78–2.94). Longer post-traumatic amnesia was associated with less severe intrusive memories at the acute assessment. These findings indicate that PTSD may be more likely following MTBI, however, longer post-traumatic amnesia appears to be protective against selected re-experiencing symptoms. (JINS, 2009, 15, 862–867.)

(Received November 02 2008)

(Reviewed July 10 2009)

(Accepted July 13 2009)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Richard A. Bryant, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, New South Wales 2052, Australia. E-mail: r.bryant@unsw.edu.au

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