Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Abeare, C.




Changes to emotional functioning are difficult to measure after traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study examines how TBI impacts emotional functioning using self-report measures of psychological symptoms, affect, and social participation as well as objective measures of affective processes. The first experiment consists of the development of a novel measure of facial affect recognition that is validated in a sample of 78 non-clinical participants. The second experiment is an exploratory study examining group differences between 50 individuals with mild complicated, moderate, or severe TBI and 32 demographically similar controls. Correlations between self-reported psychological symptoms, affect, and social participation and performance on measures of affective processes are reported. Finally, moderation analyses are used to examine if the relationship between self-reported measures and affective processes changes in the presence of TBI. Results indicated that those with TBI showed different patterns of affective processing as compared to controls. Specifically, TBI participants demonstrated a positive bias when interpreting facial expressions and a negative bias when recalling emotion words. Self-reported measures were also associated with overall performance on measures of affective processing. Findings indicated that the effect of valence appears to be domain specific (e.g. faces versus words) and research within one domain (e.g. affective language) may not generalize to other cognitive-affective processes (e.g. facial affect recognition). Further research on affective processing after TBI is warranted with particular attention given to negatively arousing stimuli.