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Neuropsychological functioning and mild traumatic brain injury: The impact of anxiety sequelae

Elizabeth L Moore, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


A burgeoning number of studies have indicated that anxiety sequelae may be precipitated by mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI) and have a significant impact on neuropsychological impairment and general prognosis. With both mild TBI and anxiety disorders boasting dramatic prevalent rates in the United States, a greater understanding of their interaction and its implications is paramount in the treatment of this phenomenon. The present investigation used the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988) to examine the effects of anxiety symptoms on performance on the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS; Randolph, 1998), Wisconsin Card-Sorting Test (WCST; Heaton, Chelune, Talley, Kay, & Curtis, 1993), and the Trail Making Test B (TMTB; Reitan & Wolfson, 1985) in a sample of individuals who had sustained mild TBIs. Contrary to the main hypothesis, levels of anxiety were not significantly correlated with scores on any of the neuropsychological measures. The sample did, however, demonstrate notable levels of anxiety, as well as consistent impairment across neuropsychological measures. Anxiety scores were correlated with number of physical symptoms reported (r = .44, p < .01). In an attempt to understand the experience of anxiety following mild TBI on a more descriptive level, one of the study's participants was interviewed. She reported debilitating anxiety which was social, generalized, and panic in nature. Although the main hypothesis was not confirmed, the present study does reinforce the small existing body of literature which indicates that anxiety maintains a notable presence in individuals who have sustained a mild TBI. It also demonstrates that, although the present sample possessed the mildest level of TBI, the participants exhibited neuropsychological deficits that seem to have been physiogenic in nature. The non-significant correlations between the BAI and neuropsychological measures may have been result of the sensitivity of the measures or due to the post hoc characteristics of the sample. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Moore, Elizabeth L, "Neuropsychological functioning and mild traumatic brain injury: The impact of anxiety sequelae" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3180808.