Journal of Neurology

, Volume 262, Issue 3, pp 523–531 | Cite as

Trajectories of physical health in the first 5 years after traumatic brain injury

  • Nada AndelicEmail author
  • Paul B. Perrin
  • Marit V. Forslund
  • Helene L. Soberg
  • Solrun Sigurdardottir
  • Unni Sveen
  • Tone Jerstad
  • Cecilie Roe
Original Communication


The aims of the study were to examine whether self-reported physical health changes over the first 5 years after traumatic brain injury (TBI), and whether the trajectories of physical health over that time period could be predicted by demographic and injury-related variables. A longitudinal cohort study was conducted with 97 individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI who had been admitted to a Trauma Referral Centre in 2005/2007. Patients were followed up at 1, 2 and 5 years post-injury. Physical health-related quality of life (HRQL) (i.e., physical health) was measured by four subscales of the Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36): Physical Functioning, Role–Physical, Bodily Pain and General Health. Only the Physical Functioning domain showed statistically significant improvements across time. Women had lower scores on Role–Physical, Bodily Pain (more pain) and General Health. Unemployment prior to injury and having been in a “blue collar” physical job was associated with lower Physical Functioning and General Health, while greater TBI severity was associated with lower Physical Functioning, but better Role–Physical. Bodily Pain, Role–Physical and General Health remained fairly stable over time, despite the improvement in Physical Functioning. There were a number of significant injury-related and demographic predictors across the four trajectories of physical health. A better understanding of factors influencing these domains over the first 5 years after TBI and effective pain reducing rehabilitation strategies are needed.


TBI Longitudinal study SF-36 Physical functioning General health 



The authors would like to thank all the patients for their participation. Special thanks to Nini Hammergren for assistance with patient registrations during the first 2 years post-injury. This study was funded by grants from The Research Council of Norway and Institute of Health and Society, CHARM (Research Centre for Habilitation and Rehabilitation Models and Services), Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.

Conflicts of interest

There are none conflicts of interest declared.

Ethical standard

The present study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nada Andelic
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul B. Perrin
    • 3
  • Marit V. Forslund
    • 1
    • 4
  • Helene L. Soberg
    • 1
  • Solrun Sigurdardottir
    • 2
    • 5
  • Unni Sveen
    • 1
    • 6
  • Tone Jerstad
    • 7
  • Cecilie Roe
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  2. 2.CHARM (Research Centre for Habilitation and Rehabilitation Models and Services), Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  4. 4.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  5. 5.Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital TrustAkershusNorway
  6. 6.Faculty of Health SciencesOslo and Akershus University CollegeOsloNorway
  7. 7.Department of NeuroradiologyOslo University HospitalOsloNorway

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