Research Reports - An investigation of sleep quality in adolescents and young adults after mild traumatic brain injury

Cogn Behav Neurol. 2015 Jun;28(2):53-62

Schmidt AT(1), Li X, Hanten GR, McCauley SR, Faber J, Levin HS

OBJECTIVE AND BACKGROUND: We examined sleep-related problems in adolescents and
young adults after a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or orthopedic injury. We
extended the analysis of data from a study of early emotional and
neuropsychological sequelae in these populations (McCauley et al. 2014. J
Neurotrauma. 31:914).
METHODS: We gave the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to 77 participants with MTBI,
71 with orthopedic injury, and 43 non-injured controls. The age range was 12 to
30 years. We tested sleep quality within 96 hours of injury and at 1- and 3-month
follow-up. Participants also completed measures of pain and fatigue, drug and
alcohol use, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
RESULTS: Older participants (mean age=25 years) in the MTBI group exhibited a
sharp increase in sleep-related symptoms between the baseline assessment and 1
month, and still had difficulties at 3 months. Younger participants with MTBI
(mean age=15 years) and older participants with an orthopedic injury had modest
increases in sleep difficulties between baseline and 1 month. The participants
with MTBI also had more clinically significant sleep difficulties at all 3
assessments. At 3 months, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores in younger
participants with MTBI and all participants with orthopedic injury did not differ
significantly from the non-injured controls'. The controls had no significant
change in their sleep symptoms during the 3 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Sleep difficulties in young adults may persist for ≤3 months after
MTBI and exceed those after orthopedic injury. Clinicians should seek and treat
sleep-related problems after MTBI.

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