Aggressive behavior following traumatic brain injury: How common is common?

Ian J. Baguley*, Joanne Cooper, Kim Felmingham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence and predictors of aggressive behavior among traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors at 6, 24, and 60 months postdischarge. DESIGN: Mixed cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a 5-year follow-up study of discharged TBI patients analyzed retrospectively. SETTING: A specialized Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service of a tertiary referral hospital. PATIENTS: Two hundred twenty-eight (228) patients with moderate to severe TBI. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The Overt Aggression Scale; injury-related variables (in particular, Glasgow Coma and Outcome scales and posttraumatic amnesia duration); and a battery of postdischarge questionnaires (Beck Depression Inventory, Trauma Complaints List, General Health Questionnaire, etc). RESULTS: At any given follow-up period, 25% of the participants were classified as aggressive. Aggression, where present, was consistently associated with depression, concurrent traumatic complaints, younger age at injury, and low satisfaction with life rather than with injury, demographic, or premorbid characteristics. Depression was the factor that was most significantly associated with aggressive behavior at all times postinjury, followed by a younger age at the time of injury. CONCLUSIONS: Aggression is a common, fluctuating, and long-term problem following TBI. The underlying association between aggression and psychosocial variables lends support to the provision of ongoing outreach services and psychological and behavioral interventions for all affected TBI survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Follow up
  • Predictors
  • Prevalence
  • Traumatic brain injury


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