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The impact of Sport-Related Concussion and Physical Pain on Mental Health, Cognition, and Quality of Life

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posted on 06.05.2022, 13:48 by Daniel WalkerDaniel Walker, Adam Qureshi, David Marchant, Alex Bahrami Balani

Presented at the The British Psychological Society Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Annual Conference 2021, 29 - 30 November, Crowne Plaza Liverpool, UK 


Objectives: This project attempted to shed light on how concussion and physical pain impact mental health, cognition, and quality of life.

Method: Participants self-reported whether they had sustained concussion (control vs. post-concussed). The CESD and STAI recorded symptoms of depression and anxiety respectively, while the SF-12 measured quality of life. A cognitive battery assessed areas of memory and executive function.

Results: Study 1 (concussed, n=32 & non-concussed, n=35) revealed that concussion led to higher depressive symptoms whereas pain was responsible for both this and lower quality of life. Study 2 (concussed, n=56 & non-concussed, n=46) further highlighted that pain may be more responsible for poorer mental health and lower quality of life than concussion history. Study 3 (concussed n=45 & non-concussed n=39) suggested that pain may be responsible for poorer mental health and reduced quality of life whereas concussion history explains impaired cognition.

Conclusions: Much of the literature in this area does not account for physical pain when assessing the effects of concussion, despite the prevalence of them co-occurring. This project reveals the impacts that the two factors have on three broad outcomes, mental health, cognition, and quality of life. Understanding this allows us to better protect sportspeople.

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