Comparing Post-concussion Symptom Reporting Between Adults with and Without a TBI History Within an Adult Male Correctional Facility
Background: A higher proportion of people in prison have a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) than the general population. However, little is known about potentially related persistent symptoms in this population.
Aims: To compare symptom reporting in men with and without a history of TBI following admission to a correctional facility. Methods: All men transferred to the South Auckland Correctional Facility in New Zealand complete a lifetime TBI history and the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptom Questionnaire (RPQ) as part of their routine health screen. Data collected between June 2020 and March 2021 were extracted and anonymised. Participants were classified as reporting at least one TBI in their lifetime or no TBI history. The underlying factor structure of the RPQ was determined using principal components analysis. Symptom scores between those with and without a TBI history were compared using Mann Whitney U tests.
Results: Of the N = 363 adult male participants, 240 (66%) reported experiencing at least one TBI in their lifetime. The RPQ was found to have a two-factor structure (Factor 1: cognitive, emotional, behavioural; Factor 2: visual-ocular) explaining 61% of the variance. Men reporting a TBI history had significantly higher cognitive, emotional and behavioural (U = 50.4, p < 0.001) and visuo-ocular symptoms (U = 68.5, p < 0.001) in comparison to men reporting no TBI history.
Conclusion: A history of TBI was associated with higher symptom burden on admission to a correctional facility. Screening for TBI history and current symptoms on admission may assist prisoners experiencing persistent effects of TBI to access rehabilitation.