Major depression after traumatic brain injury (TBI) has devastating consequences as it increases the risk of suicide, impairs overall quality of life, and affects interpersonal, occupational, and social functioning. Although the literature has reported factors associated with depression after TBI, very few studies have examined the prevalence and correlates focused on the development of new-onset depression (NOD) after first-time TBI. Our study aimed to identify TBI- and non–TBI-related factors associated with the development of NOD in the first year after TBI.
A total of 103 subjects with first-time TBI were seen within 12 months postinjury and evaluated for the development of NOD at 3, 6, and 12 months.
Frontal lobe functioning, frontal lesions, and pre-TBI/early post-TBI social impairment were not found to be predictors of development of NOD within the first year after injury. Decreased post-TBI social functioning as perceived by the subject at 3, 6, and 12 months was found to be associated with NOD at each of these time points, respectively.
The study findings highlight the importance of psychotherapeutic interventions to address the individuals’ overall perception of their social impairment in the early-TBI period. This may help decrease the progression of major depression within the first year after injury.