Relationship of caregiver and family functioning to participation outcomes after postacute rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury: A multicenter investigation

Angelle M. Sander, Kacey Little Maestas, Mark Sherer, James F. Malec, Risa Nakase-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the contribution of caregiver emotional functioning and family functioning to participation outcomes after postacute rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Three postacute comprehensive-integrated postacute rehabilitation programs associated with National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-funded TBI Model Systems Centers. Participants: Persons with medically documented TBI (N=136; 57% with severe TBI, 12% moderate, 31% mild), primarily men and 69% white. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Community Integration Questionnaire and Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART). Results: After accounting for age, education, sex, and race/ethnicity, there was a significant interaction between caregiver emotional functioning and time since injury for CHART Occupation and Social Integration Scale scores. Better emotional functioning in caregivers was associated with greater occupation and social integration outcomes for persons who entered the postacute rehabilitation program within 6 months of injury, but not for those >6 months postinjury. There was no relationship of family functioning to participation outcomes, and no interaction between family functioning and time since injury. Conclusions: Caregiver distress should be accounted for in studies investigating the effectiveness of postacute rehabilitation after TBI. Screening of caregivers early during postacute rehabilitation can target those who need assistance to improve their support of the person with TBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)842-848
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012



  • Brain injuries
  • Caregivers
  • Rehabilitation
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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