Impact of Psychological Disorders on Clinical Presentation of Pediatric Patients Following a Concussion

Hannah Worrall, Shane Miller, Munro Cullum, Jane Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To examine differences in clinical symptom measures between pediatric patients with a history of depression and/or anxiety and no history of psychological disorders (PD) following a concussion. BACKGROUND: Limited information exists regarding impact of pre-existing psychological disorders on initial clinical presentation in pediatric patients following concussion. DESIGN/METHODS: Data were prospectively collected from participants aged 5-18 diagnosed with a concussion between August 2015 and March 2020. Demographics and clinical measures from initial presentation were reviewed, including SCAT-5 Symptom, Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) scale, and Brief Resiliency Scale (BRS). Participants were separated into 4 groups based on self-reported prior diagnosis: depression, anxiety, both, and no PD. RESULTS: One thousand seven hundred seventy participants included: 50 depression, 82 anxiety, 84 both, and 1,554 no PD history. There was no significant difference in age, sex, prior concussion history, or time to presentation between the depression and no PD group, or the anxiety and no PD group. The both group was older, had more females and prior concussions, and presented later than the no PD group. The depression, anxiety, and both groups had higher rates of learning disorders than the no PD group (40%, 47.6%, 46.4% vs 16.4%, all p < 0.001). Each PD group had higher symptom severity scores than the no PD group. The PD groups all reported higher GAD-7 and PHQ-8 scores and lower BRS scores compared to the no PD group. The both group had the highest symptom severity, GAD-7, and PHQ-8 scores along with the lowest BRS score. All findings p = 0.001. CONCLUSIONS: Differences were seen in participants with a history of depression and/or anxiety at initial clinical presentation, including history of learning disability, symptom severity scores, and screening tests for depression, anxiety, and resiliency compared to those without a history of PD. Understanding differences at initial presentation may urge providers to engage multidisciplinary teams in facilitating patient recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S21
StatePublished - Jan 4 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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