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Public education of traumatic brain injury

Wed 03 Oct 2018

Research looks at the predictors of public understanding and the impact of public education on awareness of traumatic brain injury. 

Aim: Existing research suggests that the public demonstrates inadequate knowledge about traumatic brain injury (TBI), indicating a need for public education initiatives; however, limited research exists on the effectiveness of these initiatives. The purposes of this study were to (1) identify whether any demographic/personal variables (e.g. gender, age, experience with TBI) predicted TBI knowledge and (2) determine whether presenting an educational video to members of the general public would improve knowledge about TBI.

Methods: Participants included 392 adults recruited from a state fair. Participants were divided into two groups, one of which viewed a 6-min video about TBI, and one which viewed an unrelated video. Participants completed measures relating to their backgrounds and knowledge about TBI.

Results: Greater educational attainment and professional experience with TBI were predictive of better TBI knowledge (F(1, 336) = 13.76 and 6.92, respectively, p < 0.01); no other demographic or personal variables predicted knowledge. Participants who viewed the TBI video demonstrated significantly better knowledge than participants who did not (F(1, 336) = 52.41, p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: These results indicate that public education can result in immediate gains in public knowledge about TBI. Further research should include randomized controlled trials to determine long-term effectiveness of public education campaigns.

Reference: Schellinger, S.K., Munson, B., & Kennedy, M.R.T. (2018). Public perceptions of traumatic brain injury: predictors of knowledge and the effects of education. Brain Injury, 32 (11), 1377-1385.