Optimizing baseline and post-concussion assessments through identification, confirmation, and equivalence of latent factor structures: findings from the NCAA-DoD CARE Consortium

Landon B. Lempke*, Adrian J. Boltz, Gian Gabriel P. Garcia, Reid A. Syrydiuk, Himadri S. Pandey, Paul F. Pasquina, Michael A. McCrea, Thomas W. McAllister, Steven P. Broglio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Concussion evaluations use a multidimensional assessment to evaluate unique patient function dimensions (e.g., subjective symptoms differ from balance assessments), but the overarching latent factor structure has not been empirically substantiated. Our objective was to determine the cumulative latent factor structure of pre-injury baseline and acute (<48-h) post-concussion assessment battery outcomes, and determine measurement equivalence among common factors in collegiate student-athletes. Methods: Collegiate student-athletes at baseline (n = 21,865) and post-concussion (n = 1,537) across 25-institutions completed standardized assessments. Individual items were used from the baseline and post-concussion assessments and consisted of: Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, Brief Symptom Inventory-18, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, Balance Error Scoring System, Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test, and vestibular-ocular motor screening. Exploratory factor analysis was used on half the baseline data, and confirmatory factor analysis on the remaining baseline data and post-concussion data separately. Measurement equivalence was assessed between sex, sport contact classification, concussion history, and time. Results: A 10-factor exploratory model was established and comprised of: depression, somatic, vestibulo-ocular, headache, postural stability, neurocognition, emotional, fatigue, cognitive, consciousness clouding. The 10-factor model was confirmed at baseline and post-concussion with strong measurement equivalence between timepoints. Strong to strict measurement equivalence was observed for sex, sport contact classification, and concussion history at both timepoints separately. Conclusion: Our findings established a robust 10-factor latent factor model equivalent across timepoints and common factors among healthy and concussed collegiate athletes. Clinicians can use these findings to target specific factors while reducing redundant elements to provide efficient, comprehensive post-concussion assessments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Neuropsychologist
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Factor analysis
  • neurocognitive testing
  • oculomotor
  • postural stability
  • symptoms

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