Authors: Snell DL, Hay-Smith EJ, Surgenor LJ, Siegert RJ.
Associations between components of Leventhal's common sense model of health behaviour (injury beliefs, coping, distress) and outcome after mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) were examined. Participants (n = 147) were recruited within three months following MTBI and assessed six months later, completing study questionnaires at both visits (Illness Perceptions Questionnaire Revised, Brief COPE, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Outcome measures included the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire and Rivermead Head Injury Follow-Up Questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate (logistic regression) analyses examined associations between injury beliefs, coping and distress at baseline, and later outcome. Participants endorsing stronger injury identity beliefs (p < .01), expectations of lasting severe consequences (p < .01), and distress (p < .01) at time one, had greater odds of poor outcome at time two. Coping styles were also associated with later outcome although variability in findings limited interpretability. Associations between psychological variables and outcome were examined and 76.5% of cases were correctly classified by the model. Consistent with Leventhal's model, participant beliefs about their injury and recovery had significant associations with outcome over time. Coping also appeared to have important associations with outcome but more research is required to examine these. Current reassurance-based interventions may be improved by targeting variables such as injury beliefs, coping and adjustment soon after injury.