Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs in a substantial minority of military personnel, and commonly is associated with mental health disorders and postconcussive symptoms (PCS). The implications of TBI for mental health treatment are not well understood. The present study sought to describe psychotherapy response in veterans with and without TBI.
One hundred and sixty male and female veterans participated in a multisite randomized controlled trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy versus Present Centered Therapy; a subset of 129 veterans were included in these analyses. Outcomes included the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI), Short Form 12 Health Survey (SF-12), Rivermead Postconcussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ), and Sheehan Disability Scale (SDS). Regardless of the intervention, treatment response in those with and without TBI did not differ for the BSI, physical health-related SF-12, or SDS. Those with TBI showed less improvement on the mental health SF-12 subscale. The RPQ did not show significant improvement over time.
Results did not suggest a need for differential psychotherapy treatment based on TBI history. In spite of evidence suggesting high correspondence between emotional symptoms and PCS, PCS did not respond to the current interventions.