Archives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists 2017 12 13() doi 10.1093/arclin/acx122
Apathy is one of the most common behavioral symptoms encountered after traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, very little is known about the longitudinal course and predictors of apathetic manifestations. The aims of the present study were to examine how apathy changes and the predictive value of cognitive factors (memory, attention/executive mechanisms, and multitasking) and personal identity factors (self-esteem and self-efficacy beliefs) for apathy over a period of 10 months.
To this end, 68 participants (32 patients with severe TBI matched with 36 control participants) living in the community were enrolled. At Time 1, participants were given three questionnaires to assess self-esteem, self-efficacy beliefs, anxiety and depression symptoms, and five tasks to assess cognitive processes. Simultaneously, a close relative of each participant completed a questionnaire that assessed lack of initiative/initiative. At Time 2, all questionnaires were re-administered to each patient and their relatives.
Patients displayed a significant lack of initiative/interest at all post-injury assessments. At the individual level, the results revealed that a majority of patients had no change in their apathetic symptoms over the 10-month follow-up, whereas in the others, apathetic symptoms mostly increased. Furthermore, impaired memory was the only mechanism that significantly predicted later apathetic manifestations. Complementary profile analyses indicated that patients with worsening symptoms over the follow-up period showed higher inaccurate memory at Time 1 than patients with stable symptoms.
These results provide valuable insight into the longitudinal evolution and predictors of apathy after TBI, which opens interesting prospects for psychological interventions.