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Misdiagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder following severe traumatic brain injury

  • Ruth E. Sumpter (a1) and Tom M. McMillan (a2)
Abstract
Background

The incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after traumatic brain injury is unclear. One issue involves the validity of diagnosis using self-report questionnaires.

Aims

To compare PTSD ‘caseness' arising from questionnaire self-report and structured interview.

Method

Participants (n=34) with traumatic brain injury were recruited. Screening measures and self-report questionnaires were administered, followed by the structured interview.

Results

Using questionnaires, 59% fulfilled criteria for PTSD on the Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale and 44% on the Impact of Events Scale, whereas using structured interview (Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale) only 3% were ‘cases'. This discrepancy may arise from confusions between effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

Conclusions

After traumatic brain injury, PTSD self-report measures might be used for screening but not diagnosis.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor T. M. McMillan, Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0XH, UK. E-mail: t.m.mcmillan@clinmed.gla.ac.uk
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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Misdiagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder following severe traumatic brain injury

  • Ruth E. Sumpter (a1) and Tom M. McMillan (a2)
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