University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Association of sleep and co-occurring psychological conditions at 1 year after traumatic brain injury


Fogelberg DJ, Hoffman JM, Dikmen S, Temkin NR, Bell KR



Publication Info:

Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 93(8):1313-1318


OBJECTIVES: To compare individuals' sleep 1 year after traumatic brain injury (TBI) with that of a healthy comparison group, and examine the relationship between sleep, co-occurring conditions, and functional status in those with TBI.
DESIGN: Longitudinal assessment of a prospectively studied sample of individuals with moderate to severe TBI. Assessment of sleep occurred at 1 year after TBI.
SETTING: Inpatient acute rehabilitation for TBI and community follow-up at 1 year postinjury.
PARTICIPANTS: Individuals with TBI (N=174) were recruited from consecutive admissions to an inpatient rehabilitation unit and enrolled into the TBI Model Systems study. Participant mean age was 38, and mean Glasgow Coma Scale score on admission was 9.3. Seventy-eight percent of the sample were men.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Sleep was assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Depression, anxiety, and pain were measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale, and an analog pain rating scale, respectively.
RESULTS: Participants with TBI reported significantly greater sleep difficulties than the healthy comparison group. Forty-four percent of participants with TBI reported significant sleep problems (PSQI>5). Participants with 1 or more co-occurring conditions (depression, pain, or anxiety) had significantly worse sleep than those without such a condition. The highest level of sleep problems was reported by participants with multiple co-occurring conditions. Sleep problems were also associated with poor functional status.
CONCLUSIONS: Sleep difficulties are a frequent problem at 1 year after TBI, and often co-occur with depression, anxiety, and pain. Assessment and treatment of sleep difficulties should be included in clinical practice. Future research on the potential causal relationship among co-occurring conditions may assist in additional intervention planning.

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