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An Examination of Social Inferencing Skills in Males and Females Following Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Dawn Neumann
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author: Dawn Neumann, PhD Associate Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indianapolis, IN, Research Director, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, 4141 Shore Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46254, Phone: 317-329-2188
    Affiliations
    Associate Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indianapolis, IN, Research Director, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, 4141 Shore Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46254
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  • Ryan Mayfield
    Affiliations
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indianapolis, IN
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  • Angelle M. Sander
    Affiliations
    Associate Professor and Director, Division of Clinical Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology, H. Ben Taub Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine and Harris Health System, Houston, Texas, Senior Scientist and Director of the Brain Injury Research Center, TIRR, Memorial Hermann, Houston, Texas
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  • Jeong Hoon Jang
    Affiliations
    Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine, Biostatistics Department, Indianapolis, IN
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  • Surya Sruthi Bhamidipalli
    Affiliations
    Biostatistician, Indiana University School of Medicine, Biostatistics Department, Indianapolis, IN
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  • Flora M Hammond
    Affiliations
    Nila Covalt Professor and Chair, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, Chief of Medical Affairs, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana
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Published:November 30, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2021.10.028

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      This study examines sex differences in social inferencing deficits after traumatic brain injury (TBI), and examines the odds of males and females being impaired while controlling for potential confounders.

      Design

      Cross-sectional survey.

      Setting

      Outpatient.USA and a University in Canada.

      Participants

      One hundred five participants with TBI (60 males, 45 females) and 105 healthy controls (HC; 57 males, 48 females).

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT), which includes 1) Emotional Evaluation Test (EET), 2) Social Inference-Minimal (SI-M) test, and 3) Social Inference-Enriched (SI-E) test.

      Results

      Within the HC sample, males and females performed similarly on all three TASIT subtests. Within the TBI group, males had significantly lower scores than females on EET (P = 0.03), SI-M (P=0.01) and SI-E (P=0.04). Using impairment cutoffs derived from the HC sample, significantly more males with TBI (30%) were impaired on the EET than females(16.7%); impairment was similar between males and females on SI-M and SI-E. When adjusting for executive functioning and education, the odds of being impaired on the EET did not significantly differ for males and females (OR = 0.47; 95% CI: 0.16 - 1.40; P = 0.18).

      Conclusions

      While more males with TBI have emotion perception deficits than females, the difference appears to be driven by education and executive functioning. Research is needed in larger samples with more definitive norms to better understand social inferencing impairments in males and females with TBI, and translation to interpersonal behaviors.

      Key Words

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