Gender and traumatic brain injury: Do the sexes fare differently?

Jonathan J. Ratcliff, Arlene I. Greenspan, Felicia C. Goldstein, Anthony Y. Stringer, Tamara Bushnik, Flora M. Hammond, Thomas A. Novack, John Whyte, David W. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the relationship between gender and cognitive recovery 1 year following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: Patients with blunt TBI were identified from the TBI Model Systems of Care National Database, multi-centre cohort study. The included patients (n = 325) were 16-45 years at injury, admitted to an acute care facility within 24 hours, received inpatient rehabilitation, had documented admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores, completed neuropsychological follow-up 1 year post-injury and did not report pre-morbid learning problems. Multivariate analyses of variance examined the unadjusted association between gender and six cognitive domains examining attention/working memory, verbal memory, language, visual analytic skills, problem-solving and motor functioning. Analyses of covariance models were constructed to determine if confounding factors biased the observed associations. Results: Females performed significantly better than males on tests of attention/working memory and language. Males outperformed females in visual analytic skills. Gender remained significantly associated with performance in these areas when controlling for confounding variables. Conclusions: These results suggest a better cognitive recovery of females than males following TBI. However, future studies need to include non-TBI patients to control for possible pre-injury gender-related differences, as well as to conduct extended follow-ups to determine the stability of the observed differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1030
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Closed head injury
  • Gender
  • Outcome
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology

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  • Cite this

    Ratcliff, J. J., Greenspan, A. I., Goldstein, F. C., Stringer, A. Y., Bushnik, T., Hammond, F. M., Novack, T. A., Whyte, J., & Wright, D. W. (2007). Gender and traumatic brain injury: Do the sexes fare differently? Brain Injury, 21(10), 1023-1030.