Brief report: Effects of exercise and self-affirmation intervention after traumatic brain injury

Yuen S.han Christine Lee, Teresa Ashman, Andrea Shang, Wendy Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Physical exercise has been proven to be an effective method for improving cognition and mood, but little is known about its benefits among individuals with traumatic brain injury.

OBJECTIVE: This pilot study investigated the feasibility of a combined exercise and self-affirmation intervention (IntenSati) for enhancing cognition and mood in individuals with TBI. It was hypothesized that this intervention would improve individuals' cognition and mood following the completion of the program.

METHOD: This intervention was held at an outpatient rehabilitation department in an urban medical center. A wait-list control design was conducted. Twenty-one adult participants-at least 12-months post-TBI-enrolled in the study. Twelve of them completed the study. Assessment was conducted at three time-points throughout the study using neuropsychological and self-report measures to evaluate participants' cognition and mood. Following initial evaluation, participants were assigned into either the immediate intervention group or the waitlist control group. During the intervention, participants attended the program twice a week over the course of 8 weeks. Debriefing was conducted following the completion of the program.

RESULTS: Both independent t tests and paired t tests were utilized. Results indicated that the intervention group experienced less depressive symptoms following the completion of the IntenSati program compared to the waitlist control group. Participants also reported having less depressive symptoms, experienced more positive affect, and had a higher quality of life following the completion of the program. Moderate-to-large effect sizes were found on decrease in negative affect. However, results associated with cognitive benefits were mixed. The participants tolerated the program well and reported satisfaction with the program.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study indicated that the IntenSati exercise program is a feasible and beneficial intervention for individuals with TBI as supported by the positive impact on their mood and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Traumatic brain injury
  • cognition
  • mood
  • physical exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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