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Introduction: Research has shown that concussed youth are at increased risk of developing psychiatric symptoms as compared to non-concussed youth. Few studies, however, have detailed the presence and severity of acute depression and anxiety symptoms following a concussion in adolescents, specifically. Thus, the current study aims to describe depression and anxiety symptoms in concussed and non-concussed adolescents using validated measures of depression and anxiety.

Methods: The current study includes 284 adolescents (114 cases, 170 controls), 13-18 years of age. Cases included concussed patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and controls were recruited from a local, Philadelphia high school. All subjects completed the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Depression and Anxiety (Pediatric Short Form 8b) measures at their visits. Adjusted risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for above-normal limits of PROMIS Depression and Anxiety were calculated for all subjects.

Results: When controlling for sex and a medical history of anxiety, there is a 1.49 increased risk of an above-normal PROMIS Anxiety t-score for cases vs. controls (95% CI: 0.97-2.27, p=0.07). Although not significant, when controlling for sex and a medical history of depression, there is a 1.25 increased risk of an above-normal PROMIS Depression t-score for cases vs. controls (95% CI: 0.84-1.84, p=0.27).

Discussion: Our results demonstrate that acutely concussed adolescents have an increased risk of above-normal levels of anxiety, but not depressive, symptoms compared to controls. These findings suggest that clinicians should incorporate psychiatric screening into concussion care and treatment for their adolescent patient population.