Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027

  • Traumatic Brain Injury


This investigation addresses emotional health in community dwelling persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is designed to test the efficacy of a novel behavioral treatment for depression and anxiety symptoms. This treatment incorporates principles of Behavioral Activation (BA), a promising treatment model for depression and anxiety after TBI, and implementation intentions, a theoretically motivated method to enhance enactment of goal-relevant behaviors via action planning. To maximize the impact of this intervention over time, we use the low-cost, widely available technology of SMS, or text messaging, to promote positive behavior change in accordance with planned values and intentions. Participants are randomized 1:2:2 to one of three conditions. Condition 1: a control condition in which participants receive SMS messages with self-selected motivational statements. Condition 2: a condition using BA-based implementation intentions. Condition 3: a condition using BA-based activity monitoring and scheduling based on personal values.

Study summary:

This study employs a 3-group randomized controlled design to examine the efficacy of treatment based on BA using SMS (i.e., text messages) containing reminders to perform scheduled activities based on personal values. These activities are determined collaboratively by participants and therapists during therapy sessions using principles of BA, which incorporates the translation of important life values into the planning of rewarding activities that support those values. Participants will be randomized 1:2:2 to one of three conditions. The first is a control condition in which participants receive a 2-hour session with education on the importance of self-confidence and motivation, followed by 8 weeks of daily SMS messages with self-selected motivational statements (Motivation group). The second condition uses BA-based implementation intentions delivered daily x 8 weeks (Intention group). The third condition (BA-Tech) has a total of 8 therapy sessions, 6 in person and 2 by phone, and uses BA-based activity scheduling with SMS reminders, plus app-based ecological momentary assessment (EMA) for monitoring the relations among activities, contexts, and reward. The first condition will control for non-specific motivating effects of attention from a therapist and the novelty or "alerting" value of receiving SMS messages. The second condition introduces the idea of Behavioral Activation but does not contain activity monitoring or value-based activity scheduling. Participants in the Motivation and Intention groups will be contacted by phone at 4 weeks to offer modifications or replacements for their messages. Participants in the BA-Tech group will be able to modify their messages weekly once begun. We will compare groups on change over 8 weeks on: (1) emotional status, (2) perceived degree of environmental reward, (3) degree of behavioral activation, (4) societal participation, and (5) satisfaction with life.


Inclusion Criteria: - TBI (open or closed), sustained at least 6 months prior, of at least complicated-mild injury severity as evidenced by loss or alteration of consciousness not due to intoxication/ sedation and/ or positive neuroimaging findings consistent with TBI; - At least mild depression and/ or anxiety as evidenced by a score of >5 on PHQ-9 and/ or GAD-7, but without endorsement of suicidal ideation - Independent in basic home activities and able to travel independently in the community - Fluent in English and able to communicate adequately for participation in the experimental protocol Exclusion Criteria: - History of serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, or well-documented bipolar disorder; - Current psychiatric instability, including very severe depression/ anxiety as indicated by PHQ-9 or GAD-7 ≥20; current substance dependence; or active suicidal ideation - Significant cognitive disability for reasons other than TBI (e.g., developmental disability); - Inability to use phone texting function due to sensory or motor limitations; - Concurrent involvement in one-to-one counseling or psychotherapy for emotional issues.



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Amanda Rabinowitz, PhD
Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute

Alissa Kerr
Phone: 215-663-6415
Email: kerralis@einstein.edu

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

Elkins Park, Pennsylvania 19027
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: Recruiting

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: June 28, 2022

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