Many United States veterans and active military with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) also experience challenges from comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet the additional burden of PTSD is not clear.
To address this knowledge gap, this study examined the relationship of PTSD to cognitive, social, and physical functioning and depressive symptoms in veterans recently diagnosed with TBI.
Veterans were recruited from a VA rehabilitation clinic. The Patient Competency Rating Scale and Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale measured functioning and depression, respectively. Chart review captured PTSD diagnosis.
In the sample of 83 veterans, 65% had a current PTSD diagnosis. After controlling for sociodemographic variables and TBI severity, PTSD was a significant predictor of lower cognitive, social, and physical functioning and higher depressive symptomatology.
Clinicians should incorporate PTSD assessment in their work with veterans with TBI. Integrated behavioral health and rehabilitation interventions that provide strategies for veterans to manage TBI symptoms and PTSD are critical.