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Behavioural Profiles and Injury Severity Following Childhood Traumatic Brain Injury

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Suzanne L. Barker-Collo*
Affiliation:
University of Auckland, New Zealand. s.barker-collo@auckland.ac.nz
*Corresponding
*Address for correspondence: Dr Suzanne Barker-Collo, Senior Lecturer, Professional Psychology Unit, Department of Psychology, Tamaki Campus, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and morbidity in children and can result in cognitive, behavioural, social and emotional difficulties that may impact quality of life. This study examined the impact of mild, moderate, and severe childhood TBI, when compared to severe orthopaedic injury, on behaviour as measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) in a sample of 74 children with TBI and 13 with orthopaedic injury aged 4 to 13 years at the time of injury. Correlational analyses revealed that within the TBI sample increased anxiety/depression and somatisation were related to increased age at the time of injury and shorter inpatient hospital stay. Increased age was also related to increased parental reports of attention problems; while increased hospital stay was related to increased withdrawal and thought problems. Symptomatology was within normal limits for all groups, approaching the borderline clinical range in the moderate TBI group for somatic symptoms and in the severe TBI group for thought and attention problems. Those with severe TBI had more thought and attention problems, and to a lesser extent social problems, than those with mild or moderate TBI; while those with moderate TBI had the highest levels of somatic and anxious–depressed symptoms. The only scale where performance seemed to increase in relation to injury severity was the attention problems scale. It is suggested that the findings for those with moderate TBI reflect increased awareness of one's own vulnerability/mortality, with the implication that issues such as grief, loss, and mortality may need to be addressed therapeutically.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2007

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