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Rejection Sensitivity as a Moderator of Psychosocial Outcomes Following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

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


Objectives: The current study examines whether psychosocial outcomes following pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) vary as a function of children’s rejection sensitivity (RS), defined as their disposition to be hypersensitive to cues of rejection from peers. Methods: Children ages 8–13 with a history of severe TBI (STBI, n=16), complicated mild/moderate TBI (n=35), or orthopedic injury (OI, n=49) completed measures assessing self-esteem and RS on average 3.28 years post-injury (SD=1.33, range=1.25–6.34). Parents reported on their child’s emotional and behavioral functioning and social participation. Results: Regression analyses found moderation of group differences by RS for three outcomes: social participation, self-perceptions of social acceptance, and externalizing behavior problems. Conditional effects at varying levels of RS indicated that externalizing problems and social participation were significantly worse for children with STBI at high levels of RS, compared to children with OI. Social participation for the STBI group remained significantly lower than the OI group at mean levels of RS, but not at low levels of RS. At high levels of RS, self-perceptions of social acceptance were lower for children with moderate TBI compared to OI, but group differences were not significant at mean or low levels of RS. No evidence of moderation was found for global self-worth, self-perceptions of physical appearance or athletic ability, or internalizing problems. Conclusions: The findings highlight the salient nature of social outcomes in the context of varying levels of RS. These findings may have implications for the design of interventions to improve social outcomes following TBI. (JINS, 2017, 23, 451–459)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Kristen R. Hoskinson, Center for Biobehavioral Health, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH 43205. E-mail:


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Rejection Sensitivity as a Moderator of Psychosocial Outcomes Following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

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


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