THE ROLE OF PERSONALITY AND COGNITIVE-LINGUISTIC DEFICITS IN TEENS AND ADULTS WITH CONCUSSION
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Even the mildest form of traumatic brain injury, concussion, can result in adverse physical, cognitive, behavioral, and social consequences. Concussion injuries frequently result in patients who describe deficits in daily communication and overall “fogginess,” but whose deficits are not consistently captured on traditional assessments of language. The purpose of this research was two-fold: first, to examine typed written communication in order to better understand the kinds of cognitive and language deficits that adolescents and adults experience immediately and chronically following a concussion; and second, to examine the influence of a particular trait-like dimension of personality and temperament, the propensity toward more frequent, intense, and enduring negative affect (called dispositional negativity), on exacerbation of these deficits.
Using a survey conducted entirely online, 92 participants aged 12-40 years old who had a recent concussion, a history of concussion, or no history of brain injury wrote two narrative samples and an expository sample, completed multiple tasks targeting word-level and domain general cognitive skills, and provided rich self-report information important to better understanding their personality, temperament, and mental health. Performance by recently injured participants suggested that deficits in narrative language, though likely influenced by problems in word-finding, memory, and attention, also existed beyond what could be explained by those deficits alone. Narrative-specific deficits were observed in written content, organization, and cohesiveness. Moreover, including dispositional negativity in models of concussion history (group) and self-reported somatic symptomology improved the sensitivity and specificity of these models, which supports the value of considering individual differences in personality when engaged in concussion management.