Postconcussion Symptoms and Cognitive Functioning in Posttraumatic Headache Patients


Jeffrey D. Gfeller, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, St. Louis University, 221 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103.



Forty-two patients with posttraumatic headache of at least three months duration following motor vehicle accident completed the Postconcussion Syndrome Checklist which assessed their experience of 10 commonly reported cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms. The patients also completed the Beck Depression Inventory and a brief battery of neuropsychological tests. Results indicated that postconcussion symptoms remained quite prevalent among these subjects. More pronounced postconcussion symptomatology was associated with significantly greater impairment on 6 of 13 measures of neuropsychological functioning. Neither severity of subjects' postconcussion symptoms nor neuropsychological test performance were affected by litigation status. However, depressed subjects reported more severe cognitive and emotional symptoms than did nondepressed subjects. Additional information about postconcussion symptom prevalence and a description of the relationship between self-reported symptoms, cognitive functioning on neuropsychological tests, and depression is provided. The implications of these findings are discussed.