Abstract

Objective: The present study set out to examine the ability of apathy scores to differentiate mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients that are disabled and those that are non-disabled from everyday functioning by way of comparing these scores to self-report on occupational status. Thirty-three patients were recruited from a random sample of litigating patients who incurred a mTBI and were referred for a neuropsychological examination due to subjective complaints related to cognitive function. Method: Twenty-six patients were deemed disabled according to a self-report on vocational status, claiming an inability to return to work due to cognitive impairment. Seven patients were categorized as non-disabled. Patients underwent neuropsychological testing using the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery and apathy was measured using a self-report version of the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES). Results: A number of screening items of the NAB showed a significant difference of scores, suggesting the presence of unremitting cognitive impairments. Total AES scores did not differ significantly between the two groups, and therefore were not able to differentiate a disabled sample of patients with mTBI from those that were non-disabled (p > 0.05). Conclusion(s): While the present study found non-significant results with respect to the ability of apathy to predict disability among a sample of patients with mTBI, the results are not insignificant. Future research should aim to assess apathy as a predictor of disability following mTBI by overcoming the limitation of the present study.