Relationship Between Post-Concussion Symptom Factors and Neuropsychological Outcomes in Collegiate Athletes

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Guty, Erin Theresa
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
August 25, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Peter Arnett, Thesis Advisor
  • Frank Hillary, Committee Member
  • Michele Diaz, Committee Member
  • Concussion
  • Neuropsychology
  • Sports-Related Concussion
Objective: Research indicates that symptoms following a concussion are related to cognitive dysfunction, however, less is known about how different types of symptoms may be related to cognitive outcomes or how specific domains of cognition are affected. The present study aims to explore the relationship between specific types of symptoms and these various cognitive outcomes following a concussion. Participants and Methods: One hundred and twenty-two student-athletes with sports-related concussion were tested with a neuropsychological battery that included a symptom report measure and various cognitive tests. Symptoms were separated into five factors: Physical, Sleep, Cognitive, Affective and Headache. Participants were grouped into “symptom” and “no symptom” groups for each factor. Cognitive outcomes included both overall performance as well as impairment scores in which individuals were grouped into impaired and not impaired based on a cut-off of 2 or more tests at the impaired level (<80 in Standard scores). These cognitive outcomes were examined for all the tests combined and then specifically for the memory tests and attention/processing speed tests. Results: Headache symptoms were related to overall cognitive impairment as well as memory and attention/processing speed impairment. Physical symptoms were related to impairment in attention/processing while sleep symptoms were related to memory impairments. Conclusion: Given that certain symptoms show a specific relationship to cognitive outcomes, this may provide important information for guiding treatment and accommodations for athletes following a concussion.