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Journal Article


Hodges A, Ameringer S. J. Spec. Pediatr. Nurs. 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia.


(Copyright © 2019, John Wiley and Sons)






PURPOSE: The incidence of concussions in adolescents has increased in recent years. Concussion causes an array of symptoms that can interfere with the daily life of an adolescent, yet the symptoms and recovery vary greatly. Concussion management is based on expert consensus guidelines but they are not specific for adolescents and it is unclear how adolescents actually manage their symptoms. This study aimed to describe the symptom experience of adolescents with a concussion and their self-management strategies. DESIGN AND METHODS: The study used a qualitative design to explore the symptom experiences of adolescents. Ten adolescents aged 14-17 years were recruited from a concussion clinic. Using a semi-structured interview, adolescents were asked about their concussion symptoms, the interference with their daily life, and their symptom self-management strategies. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis.

RESULTS: Adolescents reported 17 different symptoms they experienced following their concussion. All of the adolescents reported a headache but descriptions varied. The symptoms interfered with many aspects of their daily life including school and activities. The majority of the school responses were related to difficulties attending school and learning (n = 21). The self-management strategies were organized into 11 categories. The most common strategies fell under three categories: rest (n = 20), controlling the environment (n = 20), and using motivational thoughts and activities (n = 9). PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: This study indicates that adolescents experience multiple symptoms after their concussion and use a variety of strategies to manage the symptoms. Each adolescent had a unique symptom experience, highlighting the need for developing personalized concussion management plans. Nurses can coordinate the development of management plans and provide education about managing concussion symptoms and promoting recovery.

© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Language: en


adolescents; concussion; management; qualitative research; symptoms


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