Abstract

Two prior surveys from rural Louisiana, Canada, and New York [Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol. 3 (1988) 331; Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol. 8 (1993) 461] revealed that a high portion of the population endorses misconceptions about the sequelae of traumatic brain injury (TBI). The purpose of this study was to assess the public's perceptions of head trauma in an urban setting in the Northeast region of the country and to compare those results with surveys from other geographical areas conducted 8 and 13 years ago. This study also examined the prevalence of perceptions about TBI that may be relevant to personal injury litigation with TBI plaintiffs. Data were collected at an office of the Department of Motor Vehicles from persons conducting business there. Participants (n=179) voluntarily completed a 19-item survey covering several facets of brain injury. This sample endorsed misconceptions at a level consistent with previous studies, indicating a comparable lack of knowledge about moderate to severe TBI. With regard to mild TBI, however, our sample generally endorsed fewer misconceptions than previous samples. The public also holds perceptions of TBI that may be relevant to personal injury litigation involving TBI plaintiffs.