Exploring cognitive support use and preference by college students with TBI: A mixed-methods study

Jessica Brown, Karen Hux, Morgan Hey, Madeline Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Many college students with TBI rely on external strategies and supports to compensate for persistent memory, organization, and planning deficits that interfere with recalling and executing daily tasks. Practitioners know little, however, about the supports students with TBI choose for this purpose, the reasoning behind their choice, or preferred features of selected supports. The purpose of this study was to explore these issues. METHOD: We collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data from eight college students with TBI for completion of a concurrent triangulation mixed-methods design. Data analysis included evaluation and triangulation of participant demographic information, survey responses about persistent post-injury symptoms, transcripts from semi-structured interviews about cognitive support devices and strategies, and ranking results about specific compensatory tools. RESULTS: Results suggest that college students with TBI prefer high-tech external supports - sometimes with the addition of low-tech, paper supports - to assist them in managing daily tasks. This preference related to features of portability, accessibility, and automatic reminders. An electronic calendar was the most-preferred high-tech support, and a paper checklist was the most-preferred low-tech support. CONCLUSIONS: Rehabilitation professionals should consider implementing high-tech supports with preferred characteristics during treatment given the preferences of students with TBI and the consequent likelihood of their continued long-term use following reintegration to community settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-499
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Traumatic brain injury
  • cognitive deficits
  • external supports
  • student survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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