Recovery in the first year after mild head injury: Divergence of symptom status and self-perceived quality of life
Marcus H. Heitger, Richard D. Jones, Chris M. Frampton, Michael W. Ardagh and
Tim J. Anderson
Objective: To examine self-perceived health status during the first year following mild closed head injury.
Methods: At 1 week, and at 3, 6 and 12 months post-injury, 37 patients with mild closed head injury completed written versions of the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPSQ), the Rivermead Head-Injury Follow-up Questionnaire (RHIFQ) and the SF-36 Health Survey. Thirty-seven controls provided baselines for the SF-36 and the RPSQ.
Results: The 3 questionnaires conveyed differing impressions of recovery. On the RPSQ, the patients exhibited ongoing symptomatic complaints and higher scores compared with controls. The RHIFQ conveyed a better recovery in terms of everyday function. The SF-36 showed the best recovery, with the mild closed head injury group achieving normal scores at 3, 6 and 12 months. Regression analyses indicated an influence of IQ, but not of age, education, or clinical measures of injury severity, on long-term health status.
Conclusion: Recovery after mild closed head injury can involve a dichotomy of persistent post-concussional symptoms but relatively normal functionality and quality of life. In addition to indicating an influence of IQ on perception of recovery in mild closed head injury, our findings demonstrate that the nature of self-report questionnaires considerably influences the picture of recovery. This emphasizes the importance of methods unaffected by IQ and self-evaluative accuracy in the assessment of mild closed head injury.