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New Zealand Caregiver Knowledge of Paediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 June 2019

Dawn Willix-Payne
School of Psychology, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Nicola Starkey
School of Psychology, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Kelly Jones
School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies, National Institute of Stroke and Applied Neurosciences, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand



Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common among children. However, their caregivers’ knowledge and understanding of symptoms may influence how the injury is managed.

Primary objective:

To investigate the knowledge of New Zealand (NZ) parents about TBI and concussion.

Method and procedures:

Parents (n = 205) of children aged 5–13 years completed a pen-and-paper or online survey containing questions examining their knowledge of TBI terminology, TBI symptoms and knowledge about concussion management.

Main outcomes and results:

A high proportion (61%) of parents did not think that a concussion was the same as a brain injury. Loss of consciousness (LOC) was the most endorsed symptom of TBI. However, 69% of participants were aware that TBI could occur without LOC. On average, parents correctly identified 19.5 (67.3%) of the 29 symptoms of TBI, but also identified 2.0 (11.9%) of the 17 distractor symptoms as being TBI related. Demographic factors and experience of TBI/concussion were associated with TBI symptom identification accuracy and concussion knowledge.


Further education of parents is needed to ensure they recognise the signs and symptoms of concussion/mild TBI so that they can make informed decisions on how best to manage their child’s injury.

© Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment 2019 

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