OBJECTIVE: Impaired self-awareness (SA) is a common symptom after suffering acquired brain injury (ABI) which interferes with patient's rehabilitation and their functional independence. SA is associated with executive function and declarative memory, two cognitive functions that are related to participants' daily living functionality. Through this observational study, we aim to explore whether SA may play a moderator role in the relation between these two cognitive processes and functional independence.
METHOD: A sample of 69 participants with ABI completed a neuropsychological assessment focused on executive function and declarative memory which also included a measure of SA and functional independence. Two separated linear models were performed including functional independence, SA, and two neuropsychological factors (declarative memory and executive function) derived from a previous principal component analysis.
RESULTS: Moderation analysis show a significant interaction between SA and executive function, reflecting an association between lower executive functioning and poorer functional outcome, only in participants with low levels of SA. Notwithstanding, declarative memory do not show a significant interaction with SA, even though higher declarative memory scores were associated with better functional independence.
CONCLUSIONS: SA seems to play a moderator effect between executive function, but not declarative memory, and functional independence. Accordingly, participants with executive deficits and low levels of SA might benefit from receiving specific SA interventions in the first instance, which would in turn positively impact on their functional independence.