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O'Neil ME, Callahan M, Carlson KF, Roost M, Laman-Maharg B, Twamley EW, Iverson GL, Storzbach D. Postconcussion symptoms reported by Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans with and without blast exposure, mild traumatic brain injury, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology. 2017 Jun 1; 39(5):449-458.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined symptom reporting related to the 10th Edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) criteria for postconcussional syndrome (PCS) in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans. Our aims were to: (a) examine relationships among PCS symptoms by identifying potential subscales of the British Columbia Postconcussion Symptom Inventory (BC-PSI); and (b) examine group differences in BC-PSI items and subscales in Veterans with and without blast exposure, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). METHOD: Our sample included Veterans with blast-related mTBI history (n = 47), with blast exposure but no mTBI history (n = 20), and without blast exposure (n = 23). Overall, 37 Veterans had PTSD, and 53 did not. We conducted an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of the BC-PSI followed by multivariate analysis of variance to examine differences in BC-PSI subscale scores by blast exposure, mTBI history, and PTSD. RESULTS: BC-PSI factors were interpreted as cognitive, vestibular, affective, anger, and somatic. Items and factor scores were highest for Veterans with blast exposure plus mTBI, and lowest for controls. Vestibular, affective, and somatic factors were significantly higher for Veterans with blast exposure plus mTBI than for controls, but not significantly different for those with blast exposure but no mTBI. These results remained significant when PTSD symptom severity was included as a covariate. Cognitive, anger, and somatic subscales were significantly higher for Veterans with PTSD, though there was no interaction effect of PTSD and mTBI or blast history. CONCLUSIONS: EFA-derived subscales of the BC-PSI differentiated Veterans based on blast exposure, mTBI history, and PTSD.