Do state supports for persons with brain injury affect outcomes in the 5 Years following acute rehabilitation?

Mike Vuolo, Jennifer Bogner, Amanda L. Botticello, Shanti M. Pinto, Gale G. Whiteneck
Silhouette of a head with the United States in the center of a target inside


  • State-level resources and supports have a small but significant impact on outcomes following serious TBI.
  • Better Long-Term Services and Supports increase community participation and life satisfaction.
  • Greater brain injury specific funding resulted in better community participation, which increased with time post-injury.
  • Federal TBI funding to states resulted in better outcomes for those with more severe cognitive impairment.



While a substantial literature has examined the effects of individual and family-level factors on outcomes following traumatic brain injury (TBI), minimal attention has been directed to the potential influence of the larger environmental context on outcomes. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effects of state-level resources and supports as an environmental factor influencing long-term outcomes from TBI using data from the TBI Model Systems. We examined the effects of U.S. state supports that specifically target people with TBI (federal funding for state brain injury programs, per capita revenue generated by brain injury trust funds, and expenditures for brain injury specific Medicaid waivers) and one measure of the relative quality of a state's Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) for all people with disabilities. The primary hypothesis was that community participation, global functioning, and life satisfaction will be higher on average among people with TBI living in states with more brain injury specific programs and resources and better LTSS. The results of multilevel and fixed-effects modeling indicated that state supports have a small but significant impact on participation and life satisfaction. The most consistent finding indicated that states with better LTSS had higher levels of community participation and life satisfaction on average for people with TBI over and above individual-level differences and fluctuations in these outcomes over time. There was some indication that more brain injury specific supports also result in better participation in the community. These findings deserve replication and extension to include other environmental factors, particularly community level characteristics, that might affect outcomes from TBI.

Posted on BrainLine March 29, 2022. Reviewed March 29, 2022.