Assessment of decision making following traumatic brain injury.
D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Impulsive behaviour is a well recognised feature in patients following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Despite the prevalence of these behaviours and their social and economic costs, there has been a lack of research on the construct of impulsivity and it is particularly sparse in the TBI literature. The objective of this study was to examine the validity of a new virtual reality task, the Secret Agent (SA) task, in measuring impulsivity in a group of participants with TBI. Individuals with TBI (n = 30) completed the SA task, along with the Iowa Gambling task and the Urgency, Premeditation, Perseverance and Sensation Seeking (UPPS) Impulsive Behaviour Scale. Correlational analyses were carried out between all the measures. A carer version of the UPPS Scale was also completed by a significant other. No significant correlations were found between the main impulsivity measures, however a number of medium effect size correlations with borderline significance were found between subscales of the UPPS Scale and the SA task. TBI individuals were compared to a community sample of age-matched controls on impulsivity. The TBI group ignored food during the SA task significantly more often than the control group. Explanations for these results are discussed, including the nature of the SA task and its suitability for a TBI population. There are indications from the data that the SA task could be a useful measure and further research is indicated.
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