Brain injury 2017 10 05() 1-8 doi 10.1080/02699052.2017.1366551
A minority of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) experience a persistent symptom complex also known as post-concussion syndrome. Explanations for this syndrome are still lacking.
To investigate if the fear avoidance model, including catastrophizing thoughts and fear avoidance behaviour, poses a possible biopsychosocial explanation for lingering symptoms and delay in recovery after traumatic brain injury (TBI) with special focus on mTBI.
48 patients with TBI, of which 31 patients with mTBI, had persistent symptoms (mean time since injury 48.2 months); 92% of the entire sample fulfilled the criteria for post-concussion syndrome.
catastrophizing, fear-avoidance, depression and post-concussion symptoms.
High levels of catastrophizing were found in 10% and high levels of fear avoidance behaviour were found in 35%. Catastrophizing, fear avoidance behaviour, depressive symptoms and post-concussion symptoms correlated significantly with each other (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION
The fear-avoidance model proposes a possible explanation for persistent symptoms. Validation and normative data are needed for suitable measures of catastrophizing and fear avoidance of post-concussion symptoms after TBI. Longitudinal prospective cohort studies are needed to establish its causal and explanatory nature.