The effect of varying diagnostic terminology within patient discharge information on expected mild traumatic brain injury outcome

Kempe, Chloe, Sullivan, Karen A., & Edmed, Shannon (2013) The effect of varying diagnostic terminology within patient discharge information on expected mild traumatic brain injury outcome. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 27(5), pp. 762-778.

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This study aimed to determine if systematic variation of the diagnostic terminology embedded within written discharge information (i.e., concussion or mild traumatic brain injury, mTBI) would produce different expected symptoms and illness perceptions. We hypothesized that compared to concussion advice, mTBI advice would be associated with worse outcomes. Sixty-two volunteers with no history of brain injury or neurological disease were randomly allocated to one of two conditions in which they read a mTBI vignette followed by information that varied only by use of the embedded terms concussion (n = 28) or mTBI (n = 34). Both groups reported illness perceptions (timeline and consequences subscale of the Illness Perception Questionnaire-Revised) and expected Postconcussion Syndrome (PCS) symptoms 6 months post injury (Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory, NSI). Statistically significant group differences due to terminology were found on selected NSI scores (i.e., total, cognitive and sensory symptom cluster scores (concussion > mTBI)), but there was no effect of terminology on illness perception. When embedded in discharge advice, diagnostic terminology affects some but not all expected outcomes. Given that such expectations are a known contributor to poor mTBI outcome, clinicians should consider the potential impact of varied terminology on their patients.

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4 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 67707
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1080/13854046.2013.795245
ISSN: 1385-4046
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2014 22:47
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2014 21:18

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