Long-term mental fatigue after traumatic brain injury and impact on employment status
Samuel Palm, Lars Rönnbäck, Birgitta Johansson
Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Objective: Long-term mental fatigue following traumatic brain injury is endorsed as one of the most distressing symptoms, interfering considerably with return to work and social life. The objective of this cross-sectional study was to estimate the prevalence of long-term mental fatigue after traumatic brain injury and to evaluate its association with employment status.
Methods: All patients (age range 19–65 years) diagnosed with traumatic brain injury irrespective of severity at Kungälv Hospital, Kungälv, Sweden, over a period of 5 years (n = 613) were invited by post to respond to questions about their injury, employment status and complete a questionnaire about mental fatigue, the Mental Fatigue Scale (MFS).
Results: A response rate of 38% was achieved. Among respondents, 39% scored above the MFS cut-off of 10.5. Higher MFS scores were associated with decreased employment status (p < 0.001). Rating on the MFS was higher for women, for those with a longer initial duration of acute post-traumatic brain injury symptoms, and for those who had previously experienced a traumatic brain injury. No association was found between mental fatigue and age, severity of injury, or time since injury.
Conclusion: Long-term mental fatigue was frequent among people who had experienced a traumatic brain injury, and a higher rating on the MFS was associated with decreased employment status.
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