Network Analysis Applied to Post-concussion Symptoms in Two Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Samples

Faulkner, Josh W
Theadom, Alice
Snell, Deborah L
Williams, Matt N
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Journal Article
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Frontiers Media SA

Objective: A latent disease explanation cannot exclusively explain post-concussion symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Network analysis offers an alternative form of explanation for relationships between symptoms. The study aimed to apply network analysis to post-concussion symptoms in two different mTBI cohorts; an acute treatment-seeking sample and a sample 10 years post-mTBI.

Method: The treatment-seeking sample (n = 258) were on average 6 weeks post-injury; the 10 year post mTBI sample (n = 193) was derived from a population-based incidence and outcomes study (BIONIC). Network analysis was completed on post-concussion symptoms measured using the Rivermead Post-Concussion Questionnaire.

Results: In the treatment-seeking sample, frustration, blurred vision, and concentration difficulties were central to the network. These symptoms remained central in the 10 year post mTBI sample. A Network Comparison Test revealed evidence of a difference in network structure across the two samples (p = 0.045). However, the only symptoms that showed significant differences in strength centrality across samples were irritability and restlessness.

Conclusion: The current findings suggest that frustration, blurred vision and concentration difficulties may have an influential role in the experience and maintenance of post-concussion symptoms. The impact of these symptoms may remain stable over time. Targeting and prioritising the management of these symptoms may be beneficial for mTBI rehabilitation.

5203 Clinical and Health Psychology , 52 Psychology , Neurosciences , Traumatic Head and Spine Injury , Brain Disorders , Clinical Research , Physical Injury - Accidents and Adverse Effects , Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) , Mental health , 1103 Clinical Sciences , 1109 Neurosciences , 1701 Psychology , 3202 Clinical sciences , 3209 Neurosciences , 5202 Biological psychology
Frontiers in Neurology, ISSN: 1664-2295 (Print); 1664-2295 (Online), Frontiers Media SA, 14, 1226367-. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2023.1226367
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