Abstract

Objective

The current study aimed to assess current broad traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related knowledge in the general public, as well as understanding regarding specific TBI-related conditions including post-concussive syndrome (PCS) and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Methods

Data were collected from 307 domestic and 73 international individuals via online researcher-developed survey instrumentation utilizing the Amazon Mechanical Turk marketplace, a recently developed website that allows for a streamlined process of survey-based participant recruitment and data collection. Participants completed background demographics questions, a 31-item true/false questionnaire pertaining to TBI-related knowledge, and an inquiry related to willingness to allow (future) child(ren) to participate in several popular U.S. sports.

Results

The overall accuracy rate of our U.S. sample was 61%. No accuracy differences were present for gender or geographic region ( p ’s > .05). Participants who self-reported a prior concussion diagnosis, who reported receiving formal concussion training, and who endorsed participation in collegiate, semi-professional, or professional athletic competition, all exhibited lower accuracy rates than the respective comparison groups ( p ’s < .001). Finally, individual item analysis revealed the presence of significant misconceptions pertaining to PCS and CTE.

Conclusions

Misconceptions regarding TBI remain highly prevalent within the general public and may be explained, to some extent, by inefficiencies in current TBI-education practices. Moreover, misconceptions regarding PCS and CTE are also prevalent and likely reflect inconsistencies in the scientific literature, coupled with misleading media reports. To combat these trends, greater emphasis must be placed on construct definition within the field and streamlined, efficient communication with the general public.

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