Objective: To characterize the preinjury family functioning, emotional distress, and social support of caregivers of persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Design: Inception cohort. Setting: Three Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems centers' inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Participants: One hundred ninety-one caregivers, primarily white and female, of persons with TBI. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: The Brief Symptom Inventory, Family Assessment Device, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and history of medical and psychiatric illness. Results: Thirty-seven percent of caregivers indicated symptoms of emotional distress consistent with psychiatric diagnoses for the month before injury, whereas 27% reported a history of psychiatric or psychologic treatment at some point in the past. Between 25% and 33% of caregivers reported unhealthy family functioning in 1 or more areas for the month before injury. Persons with an annual income less than $10,000 reported less healthy preinjury family functioning. Caregivers reported good satisfaction with preinjury social support, and very few caregivers reported a history of substance abuse. Conclusion: A substantial proportion of caregivers reported emotional distress and/or unhealthy family functioning before injury. Such difficulties may make them more vulnerable to the stress associated with injury and result in greater coping difficulties.
- Brain injuries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation