About the Study

This study was funded by the Kentucky Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Trust Fund Board pursuant to a statutory mandate. KRS 211.470 established the TBI Trust Fund Board to administer funds to examine the needs of persons with brain injury and to assist in developing services. The primary focus of research on brain injury in the general population has been on injury incidents rather than the prevalence of persons with a history of brain injury. Rather than relying on clinical samples with diagnosed brain injury, this study examined self-reported head injuries among Kentucky household members. The study used telephone interviews with household members to learn about a history of head injury among household members. The specific approach used in this study was a random telephone survey of the total households in Kentucky. Cell telephone numbers were not included. Telephone numbers were selected using randomized digit dialing – a process that ensures a random selection of households by region. 

Between December 2002 and May 2003, 3,267 households were contacted. O f the contacted households, 19.4 percent reported having at least one person with a brain injury. Of this number, 116 households reported more than one household member with a brain injury. After applying severity indicators such as personality changes post injury, increased depression or anxiety and memory problems, it is estimated that between 5.3 percent and 5.0 percent of Kentucky residents may have a head injury that could affect their future functioning. Current research continues to indicate that even mild brain injuries can result in lasting changes to mood, affectivity, memory process, and personality characteristics. These findings suggest that the ever increasing number of persons in Kentucky with a brain injury may represent a growing problem for health care planning.

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