Background: Post-concussive depression describes an elevation of depressive symptoms following concussion that occurs in conjunction with other symptoms of concussion. Children with concussion are more likely to diagnosed with depression. The overlapping symptoms between clinical depression and concussion make the diagnosis of depression difficult. The purpose of this study is to explore how post-concussive depression relates to post-concussion symptoms and cognition by investigating symptom-reporting in youth with post-concussive depression and executive function.
Methods: Adolescents (age 10-17 years) diagnosed with concussion were divided into two groups based on depression scores on the Children’s Depression Inventory (post-concussion depression; non-depression groups). Symptom reporting on the Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory and performance on Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) were compared.
Results: Participants with post-concussive depression had heightened emotionality, irritability, and nervousness. Sadness and fatigue were reported by both groups. ImPACT was unable to distinguish between groups but the group overall demonstrated severe neurocognitive deficits.
Conclusion: Reports of greater emotionality, irritability, and nervousness on concussion symptom scales may be indicators of post-concussion depression. It is important for clinicians to take note when an adolescent with concussion scores high on these three emotional symptoms as they may be indicative of greater emotional distress.