Long-term outcomes and needs of military service members after noncombat-related traumatic brain injury

Kelly J. Miller, Jan E. Kennedy, Karen A. Schwab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Assess the prevalence of self-identified unmet service needs in a military sample an average of 5 years following noncombat traumatic brain injury (TBI). Examine relationships between unmet needs and background, injury-related and outcome variables. Methods: The study sample consisted of 89 veterans and service members who sustained non-combat TBI between 1999 and 2003, selected from enrollees in the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center TBI registry. Semistructured telephone interview was used to collect information about partici-pants’ self-reported unmet service needs, symptoms, and functional status. Results: Most participants (65%) reported having at least one unmet service need. The most prevalent needs were “getting information about available post-TBI services” (47%) and “improving memory and attention” (45%). Unmet needs were associated with cognitive difficulties, physical and emotional symptoms, mental health diagnosis/treatment, and poorer functional status. Conclusions: Needs for services following TBI are associated with poor symptomatic and functional outcomes and may persist for years after injury in military service members and veterans. The study suggests service members’ needs post TBI for improved cognition, support for emotional issues, and resources for vocational skills. Information about available services should be made accessible to those recovering from TBI to reduce the incidence of long-term unmet needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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