Report of traumatic brain injury information sources among OIF/OEF Veterans undergoing polytrauma evaluations


Servicemembers returning from recent conflicts frequently report symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and are subsequently assessed within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system. Information on potential cognitive and behavioral correlates of TBI is available from multiple sources. A Veteran’s symptom presentation may be significantly influenced by the information he or she has received. Despite knowledge of the relationship between information source and symptom presentation, little work has focused on a characterization of where Veterans receive their information. The present study aims to fill this gap in the literature. We asked 152 Veterans who screened positive for possible TBI within the VA healthcare system about the sources of information they have encountered regarding TBI and its sequelae. “Friends in the military” was the most frequently cited source of information, followed by the Internet, medical professionals, and informational pamphlets. The results of this survey indicate that Veterans are being exposed to information about TBI prior to a formal evaluation and that this information comes from multiple sources of varying reliability. Future research should focus on evaluating and ultimately improving the reliability of this information in order to positively influence the treatment of Veterans.

The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Adam P. McGuire
Adam P. McGuire
Assistant Professor of Psychology