Utility of brief psychological measures for prediction of prolonged symptom clearance in concussed student athletes

Kristin Wilmoth, Nicholas Curcio, Tahnae Tarkenton, Tawny Meredith-Duliba, Alexander Tan, Nyaz Didehbani, Linda S. Hynan, Shane M. Miller, Kathleen R. Bell, C. Munro Cullum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Variability in recovery time following sport-related concussion (SRC) is poorly understood. We explored the utility of brief mood, anxiety, and sleep questionnaires as postinjury predictors of SRC symptom clearance in adolescents. Method: At initial visit 0-2 weeks postinjury, concussed athletes aged 12-18 years self-reported injury/medical factors (prior concussion, loss of consciousness, amnesia, and concussion symptom severity) and were administered psychological symptom measures. At 3 months, medical record review determined return-to-play (RTP) date. Subjects were divided into two datasets, with the first utilized for developing cutoff scores and then validated with the second dataset. Results: A total of 64% of the 141 participants had early RTP (within 21 days postinjury), and 23% had late RTP (postinjury day 30 or later). The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener (GAD-7, M = 2.1, SD = 3.1) was the only significant predictor (p =. 001), with a 1.4-fold [95% CI 1.2-1.8] increased risk for every point. No other factors in the full model discriminated recovery groups (ps >. 05). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis derived a GAD-7 cut score ≥3 (sensitivity= 56.7%, specificity = 74.2%, AUCs = 0.63-0.79, ps <. 001). Conclusions: Postconcussion anxiety symptoms may help identify individuals at increased risk for prolonged recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-436
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • Adolescent psychology
  • Athletes
  • Concussion
  • Neuropsychological rehabilitation
  • Psychological screening inventory
  • Sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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