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Peer Relationships of Children with Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Keith Owen Yeates (a1), Cynthia A. Gerhardt (a1), Erin D. Bigler (a2), Tracy Abildskov (a2), Maureen Dennis (a3) (a4) (a5), Kenneth H. Rubin (a6), Terry Stancin (a7), H. Gerry Taylor (a8) and Kathryn Vannatta (a1)...


This study examined peer relationships in children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) relative to children with orthopedic injuries (OI), and explored whether differences in peer relationships correlated with white matter volumes. Classroom procedures were used to elicit peer perceptions of social behavior, acceptance, and friendships for eighty-seven 8- to 13-year-old children, 15 with severe TBI, 40 with complicated mild/moderate TBI, and 32 with OI. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and voxel-based morphometry (VBM) were used to investigate volumetric correlates of peer relationship measures. Children with severe TBI were rated higher in rejection-victimization than children with OI, and were less likely than children with OI to have a mutual friendship in their classroom (47% vs. 88%). Children with TBI without a mutual friend were rated lower than those with a mutual friend on sociability-popularity and prosocial behavior and higher on rejection-victimization, and had lower peer acceptance ratings. Mutual friendship ratings were related to white matter volumes in several posterior brain regions, but not to overall brain atrophy. Severe TBI in children is associated with detrimental peer relationships that are related to focal volumetric reductions in white matter within regions of the brain involved in social information-processing. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–10)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Keith Owen Yeates, Department of Psychology, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH 432205. E-mail:


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Peer Relationships of Children with Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Keith Owen Yeates (a1), Cynthia A. Gerhardt (a1), Erin D. Bigler (a2), Tracy Abildskov (a2), Maureen Dennis (a3) (a4) (a5), Kenneth H. Rubin (a6), Terry Stancin (a7), H. Gerry Taylor (a8) and Kathryn Vannatta (a1)...


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