Affective comorbidity or concussion: Can we tell the difference?

Translational Issues in Psychological Science -


Thomas, G. A., Guty, E. T., Riegler, K. E., Bradson, M. L., & Arnett, P. A..



Sport-related concussion is associated with deficits in numerous domains of cognition and an increase in symptom reporting on postconcussion symptom scales. However, previous research has indicated that mood disturbance also impacts performance and symptom reporting at baseline. To fully grasp the potential impact of mood disturbance on cognitive performance, the current study aims to compare athletes with affective comorbidity (depression/anxiety) at baseline to those without mood disturbance following concussion. One hundred nineteen athletes completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery at baseline and/or within 14 days postconcussion. Athletes were separated into 2 groups (Baseline Comorbid Depression/Anxiety and Postconcussion Healthy Mood) based on affective symptomatology and injury status. Groups were compared on mean neurocognitive performance scores and algorithm-derived classifications of neurocognitive impairment. Groups were also compared on Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) symptom reporting, both total score and by symptom cluster. We found no significant differences in neurocognitive performance between groups. The Baseline Comorbid Depression/Anxiety group reported significantly more total symptoms, and more affective and sleep symptoms, compared to the postconcussion group. Neurocognitively, athletes with mood disturbance at baseline looked comparable to athletes who recently sustained concussion. Surprisingly, the Baseline Comorbid Depression/Anxiety group reported greater levels of symptomatology on the PCSS despite not experiencing recent concussion. These findings highlight the importance of screening for affective symptoms at baseline to identify athletes with underlying conditions that may be comorbid with future concussion. Without accurate baseline data, postconcussion assessments may be skewed and may lead to these athletes being withheld from activity longer than necessary. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Links to full article: