Levels of self-awareness after acute brain injury: How patients' and rehabilitation specialists' perceptions compare

Beatriz C. Abreu, Gary Seale, Randall S. Scheibel, Ling Zhang, Kenneth J. Ottenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine self-awareness regarding performance on 4 daily living tasks and to test theoretical predictions for a model of self-awareness in persons with acquired brain injury. Design: A comparative design examining the level of self-awareness recorded by patients and actual patient performance as judged by rehabilitation clinicians. Setting: A community-based residential center providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to persons with acquired brain injury. Participants: Fifty-five persons with acquired brain injury and the identified potential to return to independent function in the community. Ten subjects without brain injury provided comparison data. Intervention: Information was collected by using patient self-report, clinician rating of patient performance, patient rating of non-brain-injured subjects, and clinician rating of non-brain-injured subjects. Main Outcome Measures: Three self-awareness criteria were examined: intellectual, emergent, and anticipatory. Self-awareness was rated for 3 tasks: dressing, meal planning, and money management. Results: Statistically significant differences (p < .05) were found for all levels of self-awareness across the 3 tasks. Persons with brain injury judged their abilities higher than clinician ratings of actual performance. No statistical support was found for a hierarchy among intellectual, emergent, and anticipatory self-awareness. Conclusions: No evidence was found supporting a hierarchy among levels of self-awareness as defined and measured in the present study. New methods for operationally defining intellectual, emergent, and anticipatory self-awareness are necessary to examine the relationship between self-awareness and performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-56
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injuries
  • Disability evaluation
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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