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We examined parent- and adolescent-reported executive functioning (EF) behaviors following pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the context of Online Family Problem-Solving Therapy (OFPST) and moderators of change in EF behaviors.
In total, 274 families were randomized to OFPST or an internet resource comparison group. Parents and adolescents completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function at four time points. Mixed models were used to examine EF behaviors, assessing the effects of visit, treatment group, rater, TBI severity, age, socioeconomic status, and family functioning.
Parents rated their adolescents’ EF as poorer (F(3,1156) = 220.15, p < .001; M = 58.11, SE = 0.73) than adolescents rated themselves (M = 51.81, SE = 0.73). Across raters, EF behaviors were poorer for adolescents whose parents had less education (F(3,1156) = 8.60, p = .003; M = 56.76, SE = 0.98) than for those with more education (M = 53.16, SE = 0.88). Age at baseline interacted with visit (F(3,1156) = 5.05, p = .002), such that families of older adolescents reported improvement in EF behaviors over time. Family functioning also interacted with visit (F(3, 1156) = 2.61, p = .049), indicating more improvement in EF behaviors over time in higher functioning families. There were no effects of treatment or TBI severity.
We identified a discrepancy between parent- and adolescent-reported EF, suggesting reduced awareness of deficits in adolescents with TBI. We also found that poorer family functioning and younger age were associated with poorer recovery after TBI, whereas adolescents of parents with less education were reported as having greater EF deficits across time points.
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