Military and Veterans Affairs
Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, PhD, CRC, CVE, CLCP, CBIST,CIRS
Associate Professor; Research Affiliate
USF - RMHC, Veterans Affairs, James A. Haley Hospital Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center
To examine racial/ethnic disparities in community participation among Veterans and Active Duty Service Members with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Design : Prospective, multicenter, cross-sectional, observational cohort study.
Five Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) TBI Model Systems (TBIMS) Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (PRC).
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers):
342 community dwelling adults (251 White, 34 Black, 57 Hispanic) with TBI who were enrolled in the VA TBIMS National Database and completed one-year follow-up interview. Mean age was 38.6 years (range = 19-84).
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Community participation at one-year post-injury was assessed by three domains of the Participation Assessment with Recombined Tools- Objective (PART-O): Out & About, Productivity, Social Relations.
There were significant differences among race/ethnicity groups in PART-O domains without controlling for relevant subject characteristics; Productivity scores were significantly higher for Hispanic than White participants (p = 0.0169) and Out & About scores were significantly higher for Black than White participants (p = 0.0056). After controlling for additional demographic, injury, and 1-year follow-up characteristics, only the Out & About difference remained statistically significant (p = 0.0094).
Conclusions: Race/ethnicity disparities in community participation were evident in this military sample with TBI after controlling for covariates. Possible explanations and implications will be discussed.