A traumatic brain injury can result in a complex chain of functional and cognitive impairments and changes that can negatively affect quality of life. Many studies have shown that TBI survivors experience a significant decrease in the perception of health and life quality after a traumatic brain injury. However, this decrease isn't always predicted by injury severity or level of disability. Some studies have shown that people with more severe injuries and greater disability do not always perceive a lower quality of life than those with less severe injuries.
Self-awareness plays a critical role in the perception of quality of life. Self-awareness, in terms of post-injury recovery, is the ability to accurately perceive one's abilities and potential. However, self-awareness can become impaired after a TBI. People who suffer moderate to severe TBIs are more likely to have problems with self-awareness, and therefore overestimate their abilities and underestimate their disabilities.
A recent study found that people who had impaired self-awareness after a traumatic brain injury were more likely to report a more positive perception of their health-related quality of life than those with intact, more accurate, self-awareness. The biases related to impaired self-awareness should be considered when assessing a survivor's perceived quality of life.
Sasse N, Gibbons H, Wilson L, et al. Self-awareness and health-related quality of life after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (December 2013).