Brain Injury Coping Skills Group: A Preventative Intervention for Patients With Brain Injury and Their Caregivers

Samantha L. Backhaus, Summer L. Ibarra, Daniel Klyce, Lance E. Trexler, James F. Malec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Backhaus SL, Ibarra SL, Klyce D, Trexler LE, Malec JF. Brain Injury Coping Skills Group: a preventative intervention for patients with brain injury and their caregivers. Objective: To determine whether training in coping strategies will improve psychologic functioning and self-efficacy in survivors of brain injury (BI) and caregivers. Design: Randomized controlled pilot study with measurements at baseline, postintervention, and 3-month follow-up. Setting: Postacute rehabilitation clinic. Participants: Survivors of BI (n=20) and caregivers (n=20). Interventions: The Brain Injury Coping Skills Group is a 12-session, manualized, cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) group providing psychoeducation, support, and coping skills training. Effects of this preventative intervention were examined on emotional functioning and perceived self-efficacy (PSE). Main Outcome Measures: Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) and Brain Injury Coping Skills Questionnaire. Results: Analyses revealed that the Brain Injury Coping Skills group showed significantly improved PSE compared with the control group immediately posttreatment (F=14.16; P=.001) and maintained this over time. PSE assessed posttreatment predicted global distress at 3-month follow-up across groups (ρ=-.46). No differences between treatment and control groups were apparent on the BSI-18 posttreatment. However, the control group showed increased emotional distress at 3-month follow-up while the Brain Injury Coping Skills group remained stable over time. Conclusions: Few CBT studies have included survivors of BI and caregivers together in group treatment or included a control group. No prior studies have examined the role of PSE specifically. Prior intervention studies show inconsistent effects on emotional functioning, raising questions regarding the role of intervening variables. This study offers a new conceptualization that PSE may moderate longer-term emotional adjustment after brain injury. Results indicate that PSE is an important and modifiable factor in helping persons better adjust to BI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)840-848
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010


  • Brain injuries
  • Caregivers
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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