Common misconceptions about traumatic brain injury among ethnic minorities with TBI

Monique R. Pappadis, Angelle M. Sander, Margaret A. Struchen, Patrick Leung, Dennis W. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: To investigate common TBI misconceptions among ethnic minorities with TBI. DESIGN:: Cross-sectional study. SETTING:: Level I trauma center. PARTICIPANTS:: Fifty-eight persons with TBI (28 black and 30 Hispanic) discharged from the neurosurgery unit and living in the community. MAIN MEASURE:: Forty-item Common Misconceptions about Traumatic Brain Injury Questionnaire (CM-TBI). RESULTS:: Participants displayed misconceptions about approximately one-third of the 40 items, most regarding amnesia and recovery. Fewer misconceptions were found in the brain damage/injury and sequelae categories. A greater percentage of TBI misconceptions was associated with having lower education, actively practicing religion, being Spanish-speaking and non-US born. After controlling for education and actively practicing religion, Spanish-speaking Hispanics reported a greater percentage of misconceptions than English-speaking Hispanics and blacks. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:: Understanding common TBI misconceptions can assist rehabilitation staff in tailoring education programs for racial/ethnic minorities including those who are Spanish-speaking. Educational attainment and cultural factors should be considered when developing educational interventions for persons with TBI from diverse backgrounds. Inaccurate information regarding TBI, especially the recovery process, may hinder treatment planning by rehabilitation professionals and may result in disappointment and the setting of unrealistic goals for persons with injury and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-311
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • minorities
  • misconceptions
  • recovery
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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