Relationship between Self-Reported Concomitant Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms and the Post-Concussion Symptoms Scale (PCSS)

Garrett A. Thomas, Kaitlin E. Riegler, Erin T. Guty, Peter A. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: The current study explored how affective disturbances, particularly concomitant anxiety and depressive symptoms, impact baseline symptom self-reporting on the Post-Concussion Symptoms Scale (PCSS) in college athletes. Methods: Athletes were separated into four groups (Healthy Control (HC) (n = 581), Depression Only (n = 136), Anxiety Only (n = 54), Concomitant Depression/Anxiety (n = 62)) based on their anxiety and depression scores. Groups were compared on Total PCSS Score as well as 5 PCSS Symptom Cluster scores (Cognitive, Physical, Affective, Sleep, and Headache). Results: The three affective groups reported significantly greater symptomatology than HCs, with the Concomitant group showing the highest symptomatology scores across all clusters. The depressive symptoms only group also reported significantly elevated symptomatology, compared to HCs, on every symptom cluster except headache. The anxiety symptoms only group differed from HCs on only the cognitive symptoms cluster. Additionally, the Concomitant group reported significantly increased PCSS symptomatology, in terms of total scores and all 5 symptom clusters, compared to the depressive symptoms only and anxiety symptoms only groups. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that athletes experiencing concomitant depressive/anxiety symptoms report significantly greater levels of symptomatology across all 5 PCSS symptom clusters compared to HCs. Further, results suggest that athletes experiencing concomitant affective disturbance tend to report greater symptomatology than those with only one affective disturbance. These findings are important because, despite the absence of concussion, the concomitant group demonstrated significantly elevated symptomatology at baseline. Thus, future comparisons with post-concussion data should account for this increased symptomatology, as test results may be skewed by affective disturbances at baseline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1074
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 13 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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