University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository




Dr. Elyse Watkins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA



Purpose: The purpose of this article is to determine if having a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans effect their return to productivity (RTP).

Method: A literature search using databases PubMed, Medline, and Knight Capron Library with search terms OIF/OEF Veterans, with traumatic brain injury, without traumatic brain injury, and return to productivity. Articles were limited to peer reviewed and the date limited to 2015 to present. Eighteen pertinent articles were retrieved and served as the basis for this clinical review.

Results: The studies and literature reviewed noted the complex nature of military related TBI and that screening is critical for diagnosing and capturing lingering symptoms to be able to predict RTP. Although several studies have described medical, psychological, and work-related factors that predict RTP after a TBI, well controlled interventional studies regarding RTP are scarce. Substantial literature exists on the neuropsychological factors associated with mild TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurring separately but substantially less research has explored the combined effects of PTSD and mild TBI on RTP.

Conclusion: There is a lack of well controlled interventional studies in OIF/OEF Veterans with TBI and their RTP. More research is needed on the combined effects of PTSD and mild TBI on RTP. Future research should focus on the relation between TBI and RTP and a prospective study on current Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) interventions and rehabilitation treatments targeting RTP.


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