A Latent Class Analysis of Traumatic Brain Injury Associated with Health Outcomes in Active Duty Military Personnel
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) continues to be a significant health concern among military populations due to its short- and long-term effects on a myriad of health outcomes. Previous research estimated prevalence rates of TBI in military personnel deployed to the most recent military conflicts to range from 19 to 23% and approximately 80% of these injuries tend to be mild in severity. The purpose of this study was to understand better the relationship between TBI and health outcomes from a sample of active duty military evaluated pre-deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This study analyzed pre-deployment data from a prospective, longitudinal, epidemiological study of the genetic and environmental predictors of combat-related PTSD in active-duty military personnel (N = 4,189). A battery of assessments was administered to collect information on service members' background information and in the following health-related areas: behavioral, physical, and psychological. History of TBI was also collected, and TBI features reported were identified at pre-deployment. A latent class analysis on pre-deployment data revealed that soldiers belong to five unique TBI classes. Specific demographic and military characteristics related to the five unique TBI classes were identified. Lastly, results found significant differences in physical, behavioral, and psychological health outcomes at pre-deployment. Information from this study can be used to improve upon clinical practices and policy, in the prevention and better treatment of TBI in military personnel and veterans.