Racial differences in caregiving patterns, caregiver emotional function, and sources of emotional support following traumatic brain injury

Tessa Hart, Therese M. O'Neil-Pirozzi, Kelli D. Williams, Lisa J. Rapport, Flora Hammond, Jeffrey Kreutzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Compare white and African American caregivers of people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) regarding caregiving patterns, emotional function and life satisfaction, and preferred supports. DESIGN: Prospective, observational study; 1, 2, or 5 years post-TBI. SETTING: Six TBI model systems. Participants: Two hundred fifty-six caregivers (195 white and 61 African American). MEASURES: Brief Symptom Inventory-18, Satisfaction With Life Scale. RESULTS: Races differed as to kinship patterns, with more white caregivers including spouses and more African Americans including "other relatives." African Americans spent significantly more time in direct caregiving, and reported more depression. African American TBI survivors were significantly more disabled than whites, which appeared to account for emotional function differences. Whites were more likely to use professional services for emotional support. CONCLUSION: Across races, TBI caregiver emotional health is affected by the functional level of the survivor. African American caregivers may be at risk for worse emotional consequences due to worse survivor outcomes, yet may underutilize professional services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-131
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007



  • Brain injuries
  • Caregiver function
  • Race differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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