Outcome evaluation of the Massey University Concussion Clinic: a pilot study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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The primary aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention provided by Massey University Concussion Clinic for individuals following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). Concussion Clinics were set up across New Zealand to provide early intervention and assessment for individuals with MTBI to prevent long term complaints. Treatment outcomes at these clinics have not been empirically examined before. The current study compared the levels of post concussion symptoms, anxiety, depression, and psychosocial functioning between an intervention and a control group using a quasi-experimental design. In addition, reasons for nonattendance to the clinic, and participants’ perceptions of their recovery were also explored. The main outcome measures used were the Rivermead Postconcussion Symptoms Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Sydney Psychosocial Reintegration Scale-2. Outcomes were initially assessed soon after injury or referral to the clinic and then three months later. Participants were recruited from the Palmerston North Hospital Emergency Department and the Massey University Concussion Clinic. With 20 participants in the intervention group and 15 in the control group, the main results showed that the Concussion Clinic intervention significantly decreased the level of anxiety and depression reported by participants in the intervention group over the control group. Greater improvements in post concussion symptoms and psychosocial functioning were also indicated in the intervention group. Additional findings suggest difficulty with transportation as a reason for nonattendance, which could be a potential barrier to recovery. Furthermore, participants highlighted the benefits of attending the service and its role in their recovery. Important issues relating to the referral processes were also identified. Findings of the current study suggest that the Concussion Clinic intervention is effective in improving recovery for those accessing the service. Nevertheless, these results must be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size. Further research is warranted to examine the effectiveness of the Concussion Clinics with larger samples, and the current study may serve as a valuable pilot for these future investigations.
Mild traumatic brain injury, Post-concussion symptoms, Psychosocial functioning