Common impacts and social consequences of TBI

Search this resource

The impairments caused by the TBI have significant impacts on the person, their life, family and friends and their ability to live and work in the community.

Families also face many challenges themselves as they adjust to the impact of the changes to the person with TBI, as well as their own circumstances, for example giving up work to be the caregiver, changes in sibling and parent relationships. Families remain the constant presence amid a continually changing spectrum of providers and professionals as treatment and recovery progress.

Part of Paul's story

Back into the community

At home

Rehabilitation training with father and community therapists, case management, GP care

Paul's complete story

Families share unique roles as:

  • observers throughout all stages of their loved one’s care
  • experts with a dual perspective of pre- and post-knowledge of abilities and difficulties
  • communicators and liaisons with professional caregivers
  • advocates for their loved one.

Examples of impacts and social consequences

Life impacts for person with TBI

  • Unemployment and financial hardship
  • Inadequate academic achievement
  • Lack of transportation alternatives
  • Inadequate recreational opportunities
  • Loss of pre-injury roles, loss of independence
  • Increased service utilisation

Increased risks for person with TBI

  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health problems
  • Homelessness
  • Social isolation
  • Suicide

Person with TBI: challenging behaviours

  • Inappropriate social behaviour
  • Verbal aggression
  • Adynamia (lack of strength or vigour)

Person with TBI’s relationships

  • Difficulties in maintaining interpersonal relationships
  • Marital breakdown
  • Not forming relationships and remaining single

Life transition impacts

  • Hospital to community
  • Return to work and study if possible, or alternatives if not possible

Sources for stress for family members

  • Family members having to give up work and being impacted financially
  • Increased level of conflict due to temper control problems
  • Family members (especially partners) having to take on new roles if partner with TBI is no longer able to play these roles
  • Family members who play a caring or support role losing touch with their own social networks and becoming more socially isolated
  • Family members experiencing grief or depression and mourning for the person they knew before the TBI
  • Family members experiencing post-traumatic stress if they witnessed or were involved in the accident that caused the injury
Back to top