Traumatic brain injury is a disruption of normal brain function after a head injury and affects 1,7 million Americans annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those struggling with the long-term effects of TBI are at a heightened risk for mental and physical problems. Such problems can significantly inhibit rehabilitation outcomes and are therefore important to address in the context of rehabilitation efforts. And when TBI leaves people feeling stressed, less satisfied with life and functionally dependent on others, rehabilitation is the only option.
"Among healthy adults, religion and spirituality have shown strong association with improved life satisfaction and physical and mental health outcomes," said Waldron-Perrine. She interviewed and completed neuropsychological tests on 88 individuals diagnosed with TBI victims, most of whom were male, African American Christians. Participants also completed a neuropsychological measure of their cognitive abilities. A significant other of each TBI victim also participated and reported on the injured individual's functional status.
Waldron-Perrine found that most participants who reported higher levels of religious well-being (a connection to a higher power) had better emotional and physical rehabilitation outcomes. But public religious activities or practice and existential well-being – a sense that life has a purpose apart from any religious reference – did not have such an effect influence on rehabilitation outcome.
As expected on the basis of previous studies, social support was related to positive physical and mental rehabilitation results. This, Waldron-Perrine said, is consistent with other research studies linking religious social support to positive health outcomes in other populations. But even when Waldron-Perrine adjusted for social support, religious well-being still stood as a unique and strong predictor of positive health outcomes in TBI patients.
MEDICA.de; Source: Wayne State University