Although there is a large literature examining head trauma in general, several areas remain understudied. Notably, little is known about symptom expression over the course of a day for adolescents recovering from concussion. Furthermore, intra-individual symptom variability has not been well characterized. This pilot study examined the feasibility of a momentary data-gathering method, as well as the sensitivity of the assessment to the subtle and dynamic changes in symptoms of concussion. Six adolescents, three of whom suffered a concussion and three non-injured controls, provided symptom ratings five times per day for 5 days. This ecological momentary assessment (EMA) was conducted on a personal digital assistant to capture variability in symptom reports while in the natural environment. Preliminary results indicated that the EMA method showed great promise as a research tool in natural settings (e.g., school and home). Adolescents were able to comply with all tasks with little interference in their daily activities. Students with concussion showed generally higher symptom ratings across physical, cognitive, and affective domains, and temporal and diurnal patterns for symptoms emerged. Implications for future research and patient care are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health