Blame attribution in intentional and unintentional traumatic brain injury: Longitudinal changes and impact on subjective well-being

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Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Rehabilitation Psychology
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2007, vol. 52, issue 2, pp 152-161
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Objective: Examine longitudinal changes in attribution of blame to self and others, and concern over cause of injury, in both intentional (violence-related) and unintentional (accidental) traumatic brain injury (TBI); investigate the relation of these factors to subjective well-being outcomes at 1 year post-TBI. Study Design: Prospective, multicenter, observational study with longitudinal component. Participants: 99 men with unintentional TBI and 25 men with intentional TBI who sustained moderate to severe injuries, received inpatient rehabilitation, and provided data in both acute rehabilitation and 1-year follow-up. Measures: Blame Attribution Questionnaire, General Health Questionnaire–30, Neurobehavioral Functioning Inventory—Revised Depression Scale, Satisfaction With Life Scale, community participation measures. Results: At both time points, participants with intentional TBI blamed others more while those with unintentional TBI blamed themselves more (trend). Other-blame at 1 year predicted depression but not life satisfaction. Self-blame was not a significant predictor of depression or life satisfaction. Increasing concern over cause/blame for injury from acute rehabilitation to follow-up was associated with high levels of emotional distress. Conclusion: Blame attribution issues may be markers of TBI-related emotional distress regardless of injury etiology, particularly when others are blamed for the injury and/or concerns over cause of injury do not resolve over time.
Hart, T.; Hanks, R.; Bogner, J.A.; Millis, S.; Esselman, P.
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