Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Michelle Fleming (Committee Member), Scott Baird (Committee Member), William Romine (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Since brain injury is common in the United States, it is important for health professionals and the public to have accurate knowledge about traumatic brain injury (TBI). Understanding misconceptions is important for health educators, nurses, and physicians, who work with TBI patients. While previous studies on misconceptions about TBI have been undertaken, these have not focused on pre-medical students, nor utilized validated assessments. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a one tier diagnostic test with a confidence index to determine premedical students' misconceptions about TBI. Using the theoretical framework suggested by Treagust (1986, 1988, and 1995), we developed and validated the Traumatic Brain Injury Knowledge Test (TBIKT) in two phases. The pilot trial, which was an open-ended assessment, had a total of 20 items and 37 participants. This open-ended assessment, along with the literature review, helped in constructing the final multiple choice assessment. The TBIKT (Appendix A) had 43 items with an additional item about students' source of knowledge about TBI. Applying Classical Test Theory and an internal consistency definition for reliability to data from 38 participants, we found that the TBIKT can provide reliable and valid measures of students' knowledge and misconceptions about TBI. Students showed misconceptions in identifying physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms of TBI. This study also identified several misconceptions about TBI such as "it is likely a TBI patient may wake up from the coma without any lasting effects", "a TBI patient needs to take rest all of the time, even a little physical exercise may be harmful", and "the patient can be completely cured if enough neurons are recruited to take over the loss of the damaged ones". Validity evidence and limitations of the TBIKT are discussed and suggestions for future studies are included.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biological Sciences

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Biology Commons