Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The ability to safely drive a car requires intact cognitive functioning across a variety of domains, many of which are adversely affected following a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) impacts similar cognitive facets, albeit to a less severe extent, and preliminary evidence suggests that mTBI may also have a deleterious effect on driving abilities immediately following injury. However, changes in driving ability over the course of recovery from mTBI have not been adequately examined. The present study addressed this dearth in the literature through examination of self-reported driving ability in 18 participants with a recent mTBI and 25 orthopedic injury (OI) comparison participants both immediately following injury and at two-week follow-up. Participants were recruited from a local emergency department, at which they completed self-report measures of driving ability and an assessment of post-concussive symptoms (PCS). Participants also completed the driving ability self-report at two-week follow-up. Participants with an mTBI reported more driving problems than those with an OI and both groups increased in driving problems reported from baseline to follow-up. Greater PCS was associated with more driving problems at follow-up. Results indicate a possible deleterious effect of injury on driving ability. Implications for future work and clinical practice are discussed.

Date

2-25-2018

Committee Chair

Calamia, Matthew

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