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Emotional and cognitive consequences of head injury in relation to the Glasgow outcome scale


OBJECTIVE There is current debate over the issue of the best way of assessing outcome after head injury. One criticism of scales of disability and handicap such as the Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) is that they fail to capture the subjective perspective of the person with head injury. The aims of the study were to investigate aspects of the validity of structured interviews for the GOS, and address the issue of the relation between the GOS and subjective reports of health outcome.

METHODS A total of 135 patients with head injury were assessed using the GOS and an extended GOS (GOSE) and other measures of outcome and clinical status at 6 months after injury.

RESULTS There were robust correlations between the GOS and measures of initial injury severity (particularly post-traumatic amnesia) and outcome assessed by disability scales (particularly the disbility rating scale (DRS)); however, associations with cognitive tests were generally modest. There were also strong correlations with self report measures of health outcome: both the GOS and GOSE were related to depression measured by the Beck depression inventory, mental wellbeing assessed by the general health questionnaire, and to all subscales of the short form-36. The GOS scales were also strongly associated with frequency of reported symptoms and problems on the neurobehavioural functioning inventory.

CONCLUSIONS The GOS and GOSE show consistent relations with other outcome measures including subjective reports of health outcome; they thus remain useful overall summary assessments of outcome of head injury.

  • head injury
  • outcome
  • Glasgow outcome scale

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