Gender differences in executive functions following traumatic brain injury

Academic Article


  • The present study used the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR) funded Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) database to examine the effect of gender on presentation of executive dysfunction following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and variables that might impact the course and degree of recovery. The Wisconsin Card Sort Test (WCST) was chosen as a measure of executive function which has good credentials without reports of gender effects. Female subjects performed significantly better on the WCST than male subjects as shown by analyses of variance on scores of 1,331 patients for Categories Achieved (means for females = 4.09, males = 3.67, p =.003) and Perseverative Responses (means for females = 32.17, males = 36.42, p =.003). Outperformance by females was also noted in additional ANOVAs examining the interaction of education and gender, and ethnicity and gender in relation to Categories Achieved (p < .01), and for ethnicity and gender in relation to Perseverative Responses (p < .01). A multiple logistic regression revealed that gender, minority status, education level, history of illicit drug use, cause of injury, and length of coma each contributed uniquely to predicting Categories Achieved on the WCST. Simple logistic regression analyses showed that, of these variables, gender and cause of injury (violent vs. non-violent) were the strongest predictors. In contrast, when examining Perseverative Responses, regression analyses found gender, minority status and length of coma predicted impairment. Simple logistic regression analyses showed that, of these three variables, gender and minority status were most robust in predicting impaired Perseverative Responses scores. Implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for further research are offered. © 2007 Psychology Press.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 8196868
  • Author List

  • Niemeier JP; Marwitz JH; Lesher K; Walker WC; Bushnik T
  • Start Page

  • 293
  • End Page

  • 313
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 3