Does acute TBI-related sleep disturbance predict subsequent neuropsychiatric disturbances?

Vani Rao, Una McCann, Dingfen Han, Alyssa Bergey, Michael T. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Primary objective: To determine whether sleep disturbance in the acute post-Traumatic brain injury (TBI) period predicts symptoms of depression, anxiety or apathy measured 6 and 12 months after TBI. Research design: Longitudinal, observational study. Methods and procedures: First time closed-head injury patients (n = 101) were recruited and evaluated within 3 months of injury and followed longitudinally, with psychiatric evaluations at 6 and 12 months post-injury. Pre- and post-injury sleep disturbances were measured via the Medical Outcome Scale (MOS) for Sleep. Subjects were also assessed for anxiety, depression, apathy, medical comorbidity and severity of TBI. Main outcomes and results: Sleep disturbance in the acute TBI period was associated with increased symptoms of depression, anxiety and apathy 12 months post-injury. Conclusions: Sleep disturbances experienced soon after trauma (i.e. <3 months after injury) predicted neuropsychiatric symptoms 1 year after injury, raising two important clinical questions: (1) Is sleep disturbance soon after trauma a prognostic marker of subsequent neuropsychiatric symptoms? and (2) Can early treatment of sleep disturbance during the post-TBI period reduce subsequent development of neuropsychiatric symptoms? Future studies with larger sample sizes and appropriate control groups could help to answer these questions, using evidence-based methods for evaluating and treating sleep disturbances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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